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16-year-old Richa Ghosh the Surprise pick in India's Squad for ICC Women's T20 World Cup


The selection of 16-year-old Bengal batter Richa Ghosh is a bolt out of the blue in the 15-member Indian squad for the Women's T20 World Cup led by Harmanpreet Kaur.

All India Women's selection committee has announced the the Indian squad for the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020, set to begin from February 21 this year. There are not many surprises in the 15-member squad, apart from young Bengal batter Richa Ghosh.

Ghosh had a good run in the Senior Women's T20 Challenger Trophy with 98 runs from four matches. She also notched up over 200 runs in the domestic T20 Trophy at an impressive strike rate of over 135, ending as the second-highest run-scorer for her state team.

Another notable but expected selection is that of 15-year-old Shafali Verma. Like Ghosh, Verma has been in sensational form and scored 189 runs in the T20 Challenger trophy at a strike rate of over 155. This included her jaw-dropping 48-ball 89-run knock in the final which took India C to victory. She will open the batting along with Smriti Mandhana.

The team has continued to show its faith in Harmanpreet Kaur who will continue as the skipper. Talented opening batter Smriti Mandhana has been named her deputy.

Seasoned tweaker Rajeshwari Gayakwad has retained her place in the side. Gayakwad had a good run in the T20 Challenger trophy where she put in a shift for India C.

Other players to make India's T20 World Cup squad include Harleen Deol who was ruled out of the T20 Challenger Trophy due to an injury, but has found a place in the WC squad. Likewise, Poonam Yadav, after missing out on the tournament due to injury is part of the squad.

The team has gone in with three pace-bowling options with Shikha Pandey leading the attack. Pooja Vastrakar and Arundhati Reddy are the other Indian seamers.

With former Indian skipper, Mithali Raj having hung her boots in the shortest format of the game, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, vice-captain Smriti Mandhana and young batter Jemimah Rodriguez now form the core of the batting unit.

The notable exclusions include off-spinner Anuja Patil and Mansi Joshi. Dayalan Hemalatha has also been left out.

India find themselves in Group A which includes Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. They will play their first match of the tournament against Australia in Sydney on February 21.

Just before the tournament, the team will also be part of a tri-series against Australia and England. For that series, Nuzhat Parween has been added as the 16th member.

Tania Bhatia will be the only wicket-keeping option that the team will have, with Parween and not Sushma Verma not finding a place in the squad.

The team made it to the semi-finals in the last edition of the T20 World Cup and will expect to to go a step further. However, with teams like Australia, England and West Indies doing quite well, the Kaur brigade will have realistic hopes on their title hunt.

World T20 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

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