12 January 2020
Mumbai: Star India all-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur will lead the 15-member India squad in the upcoming ICC Women's T20 World Cup with Bengal's rookie batswoman Richa Ghosh being the only new face in the team.
The Women in Blue will kick-off their campaign at the showpiece event against hosts Australia in Sydney on February 21.
Meanwhile, after some back-to-back consistent show, young batting sensation Shafali Verma will also be a part of the India squad which will also mark her first appearance in an ICC event.
India are placed in Group A along with hosts Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh while Group B comprises England, South Africa, the West Indies, Pakistan and Thailand.
The Hemlata Kala-lead all-India women's selection committee also announced a 16-member squad for a tri-series in Australia prior to the T20 World Cup. Nuzhat Parveen has been included in the squad as the 16th member for the series which will feature England beside India and Australia.
"In the past one year, we have taken five to six debutants. Earlier, the same team used to play but after the 2017 ODI World Cup, a lot of new prospects have emerged. We feel we have nurtured five or six new players, who are playing now. Richa Ghosh is a new player and here the role of selectors increases," Hemlatha told reporters at a press conference here.
Skipper Harmanpreet said: "Before the World Cup, this series is going to be a big one for us and we will look for our best combination and with that we will give chances to newcomer also.
"As (Hemlata) mam mentioned, we have Richa, who did well in the Challenger Trophy and domestic cricket, so we will stick to our best XI. Before the World Cup, we will be able to decide our best XI."
Harmanpreet further said that her experience of playing in the women's Big Bash League (WBBL) will help in planning.
"I think that experience will definitely help, and we know how the wickets are over there," said the skipper, who has played for Sydney Thunders in WBBL.
"We were looking for more spinners in our side and we have got that. Now the only thing is how we are going to use their strengths. They are very good and always give us breakthroughs. Our strength is spin and we have to stick to that and whenever we need them, they will perform for us," added Harmanpreet.
On the year 2019 not being a great year for them, she said: "It is always about how you execute yourself. We did not execute on what we were expecting from ourselves (in the first half in 2019). But against South Africa and the West Indies, we played to our potential and that is the reason we were able to get positive results."
Harmanpreet also lauded coach W.V. Raman, saying tactical know how has helped the team.
"He is a very experienced cricketer and now he is coaching us. He is someone who always helps us on how to calm ourselves in pressure situations and help each other. He is doing a good job for us and we are happy to have him in the side. His experience will help in the World Cup," Harmanpreet said.
India will take on England in the tri-series opener at Manuka Oval in Canberra on January 31 with the final slated to be held on February 12 in Melbourne.
India squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodriguez, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Tania Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gaikwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy.
Tri-series squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodriguez, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Tania Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gaikwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Nuzhat Parveen.