Right-handed opener Shafali Verma on Monday was named as the captain of Indian team for the inaugural edition of the U19 Women’s T20 World Cup and for the upcoming bilateral away T20 series against South Africa U19 side.
Apart from Shafali, wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh has also been included in the squad selected by the All-India Women’s Selection Committee, with Shweta Sehrawat to be the vice-captain.
Shafali and Richa’s selections for the U19 Women’s T20 World Cup are surprising considering the duo were not in India’s U19 team preparations through the quadrangular series featuring Sri Lanka and West Indies U19 teams in Visakhapatnam as well as in the ongoing five-match series against New Zealand development side in Mumbai.
Shafali and Richa will join the India U19 side after playing in senior women’s upcoming five-match T20I series against Australia, starting from December 9 in Mumbai. In 2019, at the age of 15, Shafali became the youngest cricketer to play in a Women’s T20I match for India by debuting in the home series against South Africa.
Shafali, now 18, has played 21 ODIs and 46 T20Is for India senior women’s team, making 531 and 1091 runs respectively apart from 242 runs from two Test appearances. She was also ranked number one T20I batter ahead of Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020.
Richa, 19, is also an experienced international player like Shafali and is known for her explosive batting in the lower-order. She has scored 311 and 314 runs in 17 ODIs and 25 T20Is respectively for India.
The India U19 squad has other impressive players like right-handed batters Soumya Tiwari and G Trisha, pace all-rounder Hurley Gala, left-arm spinner Mannat Kashyap, wicketkeeper-batter Hrishita Basu among others, who have displayed magnificent performances in the ongoing series against New Zealand Development side.
The maiden edition of the ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup featuring 16 teams will take place in South Africa from January 14 to 29, 2023. India is placed in Group D alongside South Africa, UAE and Scotland. The top three teams from each group will progress to the Super Six round, where teams will be pooled into two groups of six.
The top two teams from each group will then progress to the semi-finals, which will be played on January 27 at JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom. The final will take place at the same venue on January 29.
Before this, India U19 will play a five-match T20I series in South Africa. The five-match T20 series between India and South Africa U19 teams will be held at the Tuks Oval in Tshwane, from December 27, 2022 to January 4, 2023. India and South Africa U19 teams will also play in the opening World Cup encounter at Willowmoore Park, Benoni, on January 14.
India U19 Women’s team for ICC Under-19 Women’s World Cup – Shafali Verma (Captain), Shweta Sehrawat (Vice-Captain), Richa Ghosh (WK), G Trisha, Soumya Tiwari, Sonia Mehdiya, Hurley Gala, Hrishita Basu (WK), Sonam Yadav, Mannat Kashyap, Archana Devi, Parshavi Chopra, Titas Sadhu, Falak Naz, Shabnam MD.
Standby players: Shikha, Najla CMC, Yashashree.