Women's World T20 in mind, selectors look for stability

With the ICC showpiece event scheduled in February, the selection panel wants to get the combinations right so that the players get enough time to settle down before the grand event.

The Indian women's cricket team at a training session.   -  FILE PHOTO/ VIVEK BENDRE

 

When India women’s national selection panel meets at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters on Thursday to pick the side for the T20Is against South Africa, the focus will be to prepare a balanced unit, keeping next year’s World T20 in mind.

With the ICC showpiece event scheduled in February, the panel plans to get the combinations right so that the players get enough time to settle down before the grand event.

“The series against South Africa will also help the selectors and the coaching staff know where exactly things stand and what all needs to be done leading to the World T20,” a top BCCI official told Sportstar.

Now with Mithali Raj retiring from T20Is, the selectors also need to look for a suitable replacement. And that’s where Harleen Deol and Deepti Sharma may come in handy.

Harleen has shown potential in the shortest version, while Deepti has been a seasoned campaigner. Her recent outing in the Kia Super League will also boost her confidence.

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There may not be a massive change to the side which played against England in February this year, but it will be interesting to see if the selectors retain seniors such as Veda Krishnamurthy or bring in young talents.

As far as batting is concerned, the side has three experienced cricketers in Smriti Mandhana, captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues. And with Harleen and Deepti also around, the batting unit looks quite formidable.

The bowling department has top names like Poonam Yadav, Shikha Pandey; chances of any change are highly unlikely.

“The team has done well over the years and now with the World T20 coming up, the selectors don’t want to experience too much. It is important to give the players more time and help them get ready for the tournament,” one of the board officials said.

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The selectors will also pick the team for the ODIs on Thursday.

They are likely to go with the ‘tried and tested’ options, rather than springing in too many surprises. The meeting will be attended by coach W.V. Raman, T20 captain Harmanpreet and ODI captain Mithali.

The team will play a five-match T20I series in Surat from September 24 to October 4 followed by three ODIs in Vadodara.