Selection conundrum once again is the biggest headache for the Indian Team ahead of the World Cup


Written By: Ritwika Dhar
Date: 07-01-2022

Picture Courtesy: Getty Images

The Indian team’s squad for the ICC Women’s ODI World Cup 2022 and New Zealand series has been announced. Where newcomers like Yastika Bhatia, Meghna Singh, and Renuka Singh make the cut, the exclusions of Shikha Pandey and Jemimah Rodrigues have stunned the cricketing world. Among the 8 qualified teams, India is the first team to announce their World Cup squad.


BCCI in their press release has said, “All-India Women’s Selection Committee on Wednesday picked the squad for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022. Team India play their first World Cup fixture against Pakistan on March 6th, 2022 at the Bay Oval, Tauranga. The squad will also feature in the 5-match ODI series against New Zealand starting from 11th February, 2022.”                     


India’s World Cup Schedule:



However, chief selector Neetu David told UNI, “Right now, we are not allowed to speak.” Holding no press conference for the squad announcement has become a tradition and has left the fans enraged. But, David further added, “Right now, I have no idea.” when she was asked whether there will be a press conference ahead of the team’s departure and on the selection of the team. Although, a BCCI source confirmed to PTI that the two (Jemimah and Shikha) have been dropped on account of their form in the ODI format.


Squad for the 5 ODIs vs NZ and World Cup: Mithali Raj (C), Harmanpreet Kaur (Vc), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (Wk), Sneh Rana, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh, Tania Bhatia (Wk), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav.
Standby Players: Sabbineni Meghana, Ekta Bisht, Simran Dil Bahadur.

Squad for one-off T20I vs NZ: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (Vc), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (Wk), Sneh Rana, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh, Taniya Bhatia (Wk), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, S. Meghana, Simran Dil Bahadur. 

India’s NZ series schedule:    



When exclusions make bigger headlines than the selections, then definitely the selection is problematic and questionable. And the lack of accountability from the selectors makes the pill bitter to swallow. As the yardstick to select the players is not clear or has not been cleared yet, one can assume that the selectors have given more priority to the domestic performances. That is why S. Meghana, who was the highest run-getter in the Senior Women’s One Day Trophy 2021-22, Simran Dil Bahadur who had a significant Challengers Trophy, and Renuka Singh, who was the star pacer for Railways in their title run in 2021-22 One Day season got their reward.


But this is where the problem actually arises. Apparently, where this squad looks dynamic and full of youth, we can see the loopholes of inexperience in it by a closer examination. How? Let’s go deep into it.


Among the above-mentioned players, nobody debuted in the ODIs yet. Where S. Meghana played last time for India in 2016, Simran made her debut just earlier last year against South Africa and Renuka in the T20Is against Australia last October. Now, if we look into India’s pace attack which will be the key in New Zealand, it consists of:


Meghna Singh - Who only debuted in the last int’l series India played in Australia 


Pooja Vastrakar - Who made her debut back in 2018 but has been out of the scenes most of the time for her injuries.


Renuka Singh – Who has not yet played ODIs


Jhulan Goswami – The only experienced player who completed her 20 years of int’l career on the day of the squad announcement. So, in terms of experience, a stark difference can be seen between Goswami and other pacers.


Since making a debut in 2014, Shikha Pandey has a list of accolades to her name.

1. She has taken the highest no. of wickets as a pacer for India since her debut

2. One of the highest wicket-takers for India since the 2017 World Cup in ODIs

3. 2nd highest wicket-taker in the ODIs for India while opening the bowling

4. India’s 2nd highest wicket-taker in the T20 World Cup in 2020 and many more.



Shikha Pandey
Pic Courtesy: Getty Images

One can say that she had an underwhelming season in the domestics, but hardly got any chances in the ODIs in 2021 to prove her form. There cannot be enough reason to wrap our heads around why the selectors dropped her. India’s shambolic treatment towards the fast bowlers is not unknown. That is why living in such an unapologetically merciless set-up for the pacers, Jhulan Goswami celebrating her 20th year in int’l cricket holds a much deeper significance than anything.


Chopping and changing without giving any clarification has been a tradition from the Indian selectors, but it went to its peak last year when Monica Patel, Simran Bahadur, Arundhati Reddy, Mansi Joshi, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Renuka Singh, Shikha Pandey. and Jhulan Goswami - a total of 9 fast bowlers were in action. Apart from Goswami, all the other pacers were made to play the musical chairs for reasons only known to the BCCI and its selection committee. We have seen similar mismanagement and lack of communication in the cases of Indrani Roy and Priya Punia. This will ultimately affect the growth of Indian cricket in the longer run.


It is safe to assume that Punam Raut has been dropped due to her slow strike rate despite scoring huge runs. But, despite having a rough patch in the ODIs last year, Jemimah Rodrigues’ performance in The Hundred (2nd highest run-getter) and the WBBL, where she played a crucial role with the bat for her team in reaching the knockouts cannot be ignored. In 2019, when India toured New Zealand, Jemimah scored a half-century each in the ODIs and the T20Is thus making her case stronger. An agile athlete, a ‘part-time’ fielder, who helped India big time despite being on the sidelines most of the time last year could have been a perfect backup opener.



Jemimah Rodrigues
Pic Courtesy: Getty Images

Where Richa is the first-choice keeper for India, the selection of Taniya Bhatia in the main squad is also surprising. Yastika Bhatia, who has made it to the World Cup squad can keep the wickets too. She could have been the backup keeper which would have allowed an option of adding another bowler or batter.


In the end, the one thing that can be said is that the selectors took some brave or harsh calls, more appropriately, they took a gamble. Seven players from the 2017 World Cup are left out and eight new players have been added to the final squad for the World Cup 2022. And in the last two World Cups where India reached the Finals both the groups of players were very young. But this time around, they are touring with players who have not even debuted. All the players who got selected are worthy to be there. It has a very good mix of youth and experience, but how this group comes along, only time can tell. So, all eyes will be on the New Zealand series which is starting from 9th February. 

         


  


516

Selection conundrum once again is the biggest headache for the Indian Team ahead of the World Cup


Written By: Ritwika Dhar
Date: 07-01-2022

Picture Courtesy: Getty Images

The Indian team’s squad for the ICC Women’s ODI World Cup 2022 and New Zealand series has been announced. Where newcomers like Yastika Bhatia, Meghna Singh, and Renuka Singh make the cut, the exclusions of Shikha Pandey and Jemimah Rodrigues have stunned the cricketing world. Among the 8 qualified teams, India is the first team to announce their World Cup squad.


BCCI in their press release has said, “All-India Women’s Selection Committee on Wednesday picked the squad for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022. Team India play their first World Cup fixture against Pakistan on March 6th, 2022 at the Bay Oval, Tauranga. The squad will also feature in the 5-match ODI series against New Zealand starting from 11th February, 2022.”                     


India’s World Cup Schedule:



However, chief selector Neetu David told UNI, “Right now, we are not allowed to speak.” Holding no press conference for the squad announcement has become a tradition and has left the fans enraged. But, David further added, “Right now, I have no idea.” when she was asked whether there will be a press conference ahead of the team’s departure and on the selection of the team. Although, a BCCI source confirmed to PTI that the two (Jemimah and Shikha) have been dropped on account of their form in the ODI format.


Squad for the 5 ODIs vs NZ and World Cup: Mithali Raj (C), Harmanpreet Kaur (Vc), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (Wk), Sneh Rana, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh, Tania Bhatia (Wk), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav.
Standby Players: Sabbineni Meghana, Ekta Bisht, Simran Dil Bahadur.

Squad for one-off T20I vs NZ: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (Vc), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (Wk), Sneh Rana, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh, Taniya Bhatia (Wk), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, S. Meghana, Simran Dil Bahadur. 

India’s NZ series schedule:    



When exclusions make bigger headlines than the selections, then definitely the selection is problematic and questionable. And the lack of accountability from the selectors makes the pill bitter to swallow. As the yardstick to select the players is not clear or has not been cleared yet, one can assume that the selectors have given more priority to the domestic performances. That is why S. Meghana, who was the highest run-getter in the Senior Women’s One Day Trophy 2021-22, Simran Dil Bahadur who had a significant Challengers Trophy, and Renuka Singh, who was the star pacer for Railways in their title run in 2021-22 One Day season got their reward.


But this is where the problem actually arises. Apparently, where this squad looks dynamic and full of youth, we can see the loopholes of inexperience in it by a closer examination. How? Let’s go deep into it.


Among the above-mentioned players, nobody debuted in the ODIs yet. Where S. Meghana played last time for India in 2016, Simran made her debut just earlier last year against South Africa and Renuka in the T20Is against Australia last October. Now, if we look into India’s pace attack which will be the key in New Zealand, it consists of:


Meghna Singh - Who only debuted in the last int’l series India played in Australia 


Pooja Vastrakar - Who made her debut back in 2018 but has been out of the scenes most of the time for her injuries.


Renuka Singh – Who has not yet played ODIs


Jhulan Goswami – The only experienced player who completed her 20 years of int’l career on the day of the squad announcement. So, in terms of experience, a stark difference can be seen between Goswami and other pacers.


Since making a debut in 2014, Shikha Pandey has a list of accolades to her name.

1. She has taken the highest no. of wickets as a pacer for India since her debut

2. One of the highest wicket-takers for India since the 2017 World Cup in ODIs

3. 2nd highest wicket-taker in the ODIs for India while opening the bowling

4. India’s 2nd highest wicket-taker in the T20 World Cup in 2020 and many more.



Shikha Pandey
Pic Courtesy: Getty Images

One can say that she had an underwhelming season in the domestics, but hardly got any chances in the ODIs in 2021 to prove her form. There cannot be enough reason to wrap our heads around why the selectors dropped her. India’s shambolic treatment towards the fast bowlers is not unknown. That is why living in such an unapologetically merciless set-up for the pacers, Jhulan Goswami celebrating her 20th year in int’l cricket holds a much deeper significance than anything.


Chopping and changing without giving any clarification has been a tradition from the Indian selectors, but it went to its peak last year when Monica Patel, Simran Bahadur, Arundhati Reddy, Mansi Joshi, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Renuka Singh, Shikha Pandey. and Jhulan Goswami - a total of 9 fast bowlers were in action. Apart from Goswami, all the other pacers were made to play the musical chairs for reasons only known to the BCCI and its selection committee. We have seen similar mismanagement and lack of communication in the cases of Indrani Roy and Priya Punia. This will ultimately affect the growth of Indian cricket in the longer run.


It is safe to assume that Punam Raut has been dropped due to her slow strike rate despite scoring huge runs. But, despite having a rough patch in the ODIs last year, Jemimah Rodrigues’ performance in The Hundred (2nd highest run-getter) and the WBBL, where she played a crucial role with the bat for her team in reaching the knockouts cannot be ignored. In 2019, when India toured New Zealand, Jemimah scored a half-century each in the ODIs and the T20Is thus making her case stronger. An agile athlete, a ‘part-time’ fielder, who helped India big time despite being on the sidelines most of the time last year could have been a perfect backup opener.



Jemimah Rodrigues
Pic Courtesy: Getty Images

Where Richa is the first-choice keeper for India, the selection of Taniya Bhatia in the main squad is also surprising. Yastika Bhatia, who has made it to the World Cup squad can keep the wickets too. She could have been the backup keeper which would have allowed an option of adding another bowler or batter.


In the end, the one thing that can be said is that the selectors took some brave or harsh calls, more appropriately, they took a gamble. Seven players from the 2017 World Cup are left out and eight new players have been added to the final squad for the World Cup 2022. And in the last two World Cups where India reached the Finals both the groups of players were very young. But this time around, they are touring with players who have not even debuted. All the players who got selected are worthy to be there. It has a very good mix of youth and experience, but how this group comes along, only time can tell. So, all eyes will be on the New Zealand series which is starting from 9th February. 

         


  


516