Shikha Pandey, who was surprisingly discarded by the Indian national team, smashed a century and picked two wickets on debut in Australia’s Katherine Raymont Shield competition on Sunday.
Shikha, who has not featured for the national side since October 2021, achieved the feat while playing for Wynnum-Manly Cricket Club against Sandgate-Redcliffe in the women’s First Grade competition.
Batting at five, Shikha smashed 112 runs off 109 deliveries as she propelled her side to 226 for nine. She then returned with impressive figures with the ball - 6-1-7-2. Shikha dismissed two of the top three Sandgate-Redcliffe batters for ducks, helping her side reduce the opposition to 48 for nine to record a massive 178-run win.
The 33-year-old joined the side to gain some game time ahead of the start of the women’s domestic season in India, which begins with the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy in October.
Shikha was mysteriously dropped from the national squad after India’s tour to Australia in 2021, where she had made headlines with her delivery to dismiss the host’s Alyssa Healy. She would then fail to make India’s Women’s ODI World Cup squad and was also overlooked for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Shikha, alongside batter Jemimah Rodrigues, were the key omissions from India’s squad for the World Cup where it finished fifth, just below a semifinal spot.
Ahead of its campaign, head coach Ramesh Powar defended the composition of the squad while stating that players were picked on their current performances and consistency. “Each player who didn’t make the cut knows why she wasn’t picked. The communication from captain, coach and selectors isn’t a one-time communication... for the last six months, I have been very clear about their roles. I had told them what was expected of them. There’s competition for places, and if you don’t perform, you don’t get your chances,” said Powar.
Earlier this year, Shikha led Goa in the Women’s T20 Trophy. She struck 223 runs at a strike-rate of 128.9 and took four wickets from six matches as Goa fell in the pre-quarterfinals.
Shikha has represented India in 124 matches across formats and has scalped 119 wickets since her debut in 2014.