World Cup 2022 | Team India | Complete Squad Analysis | SWOT
Written By: Ritwika Dhar, Jeet Vachharajani
Picture Courtesy: Cricket Queens
- 2-time World Cup finalists
- Runners-up from the last edition
- When New Zealand hosted the World Cup in 2000, India reached the semi-finals but lost to the eventual winners - New Zealand
- India’s Jhulan Goswami is the 3rd highest wicket-taker (36) in the 50-over World Cup and the highest among the current bowlers. She has also taken the 2nd most number of catches in the World Cup (16)
- Captain Mithali Raj is the 5th highest run-scorer in the World Cup history with 1139 runs and the highest among the current batters
- Amongst the 69 captains to have led in World Cups, Mithali has led for the 2nd most number of games (21)
- India is the only team from the subcontinent that has reached the finals or semi-finals of the World Cup several times
Previous World Cup Appearances: 1978, 1982, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2013, 2017
Best Finish: Finalists - 2005, 2017
- Lost all their bilateral series in 2021
- Finished at the 4th place in the ICC ODI Championship 2017-2020
- Since 2017, India has reached the knockouts of all the ICC tournaments
- Just before the World Cup, they had a series with New Zealand in New Zealand. They lost the one-off T20I match and the ODI series by 4-1.
Compact top-order: A top-order full of impact players. Indian team have evolved as a batting powerhouse in rent times and produced some stars like Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Richa Ghosh alongside the experienced Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur. Both the captain and her deputy have an avg. of 50+ in World Cups with two centuries. India in the last one year have surpassed 250+ run-mark 6 times, which is a great sign ahead of the World Cup.
Spin to win: India have one of the best spin-attacks in the world and their success heavily relies on them. After the powerplay, these spinners play a huge role in drying up the boundary rate as well as taking crucial wickets. An experienced and rich variety of spinners will be the trump card on any surface for the Indian captain.
Mithali Raj - The Glue: Mithali Raj continues to do what she’s been doing for over 20 years now. She is scoring runs pretty much in every game and she’s the one go-to player India has that they can bank upon every time. She has already scored 3 50s in 5 ODIs this year and she is not looking to budge. She is not done yet.
Peaking Mandhana & Harmanpreet: There could not have been a better time for Mandhana and Harmanpreet to hit form again. While Mandhana missed the first few games as she had an extended stay in the MIQ, she was up and running straight away as soon she played her first game. In the 4 games she has played (incl. 2 warm-ups), she has managed scores of 13 - 71 - 12* - 66. The same goes for Harman who scored a fifty in the last ODI against New Zealand and converted it into a century in the first warm-up in what came as a welcome relief for Team India.
Rustiness in the fielding: The standard of fielding has heavily dwindled in recent times. Indian bowlers in the last few series have been more ineffective due to the sluggish ground fielding and lack of urgency to contain the runs. Apart from some genuinely good athletes, it has been and will be a concern for the Indian team.
Pace attack: India’s pace attack = Jhulan Goswami. This is where India’s problem lies, especially when you consider that New Zealand is a venue where the pacers are more successful. India’s problem is fuelled by their selection errors, especially the Shikha Pandey snub. They have shown up with a highly inexperienced pace attack to support Jhulan. The new ball bowling plays a vital role and picking early wickets when the bowl swings play a massive role, and the onus will be on the old-stager Goswami to provide her team with wickets up-front.
Lack of finishers: Though India have a well-settled top order, but lack of finishers is a concern. India has Sneh Rana and Pooja Vastrakar as their designated finishers. But they also don’t get regular chances in the playing XI. So, even after having spectacular starts, India haven’t been able to capitalize the death overs which makes a difference in close games.
Dependency on the openers’ big start to score big: For putting up big scores, Indian batting is heavily dependent on the brisk start from the opening pair of Smriti-Shafali. Whenever both of them get out early, the chances of putting a big score on the board also goes away. This is a big concern ahead of the big event.
Making the most out of the NZ series: There’s no visiting team who will hold better stead than India. The ODI series and the one-off T20I came at the best time possible. While they lost 5 out of those 6 games, it’s important to know that they got some very crucial experience of playing against the hosts in New Zealand where the tournament will be hosted. This benefit was evident when India defeated South Africa and West Indies in the two warm-up games.
Deepti Sharma an option at #3: If the two warm-up games were anything to go by, then it hinted at India looking at Deepti Sharma for the #3 spot. While Yastika has done well, India could continue with this ploy and let Deepti drop the anchor in that position. A part of the reason behind such a move is that Deepti takes a long time to settle and start scoring freely which is not an option if she comes in very late. Instead, they can let her play that same game at #3 and allow Harman and Richa Ghosh to provide the flourish.
The tendency of middle-order collapses: India’s batting has collapsed many times from winning positions. The prime examples will be the 2017 WC final and recently the 1st ODI of the recently concluded series against New Zealand. This is a constant headache for this young side. It has become a theme where the openers give a pretty solid start only for the middle-order to buckle if Mithali is dismissed early.
Mithali Raj: World’s every possible batting and captaincy record have been held By Mithali Raj. The only thing which is missing from her trophy cabinet is the ultimate silverware. In her last 12 innings, she has scored 8 fifties. She will play an instrumental role in the middle-order.
Jhulan Goswami: This veteran will be spearheading the Indian bowling attack. The all-time leading wicket-taker has brilliant records in the World Cup as well. She is 4 wickets way to be the all-time highest wicket-taker in the World Cup. Her opening spells will be crucial.
Smriti Mandhana: The last year’s ICC Cricketer of the year is in sublime touch since the 2017 World Cup. She is the youngest Indian to score a World Cup ton. Her contributions at the top will be important for her team.
Harmanpreet Kaur: Her 171* in the 2017 WC semi-final changed the fate of women’s cricket as a sport forever. Her coming back in the form will be a boon for the team. She is a big-game player and she’ll be needed to help India make the top 4.
Richa Ghosh: She has evolved like none in this team. This teenager has been a dynamic addition to this team. Her pyrotechnics will be the key to providing a flourish at the death. She is heading into the tournament on the back of very impactful knocks against New Zealand where she played a fearless brand of cricket.
Likely starting XI: Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Mithali Raj (C), Harmanpreet Kaur (Vc), Yastika Bhatia, Richa Ghosh (Wk), Pooja Vastrakar, Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
*For the complete schedule of the World Cup, check out the Schedule section of our page, Cricket Queens. World Cup Fixtures