Commonwealth Games 2022: Harmanpreet Kaur to lead 15-member India women squad

Harmanpreet Kaur has been named captain of the Indian women’s team that is set to play at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which are set to start on July 29 in Birmingham. Opener Smriti Mandhana was named Harmanpreet’s deputy. Women’s T20 cricket makes its CWG debut this year after a men’s ODI tournament was played at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.

The most notable player to make a comeback to the national fold is all-rounder Sneh Rana, who didn’t play in the Sri Lanka series owing to an injury that kept her at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) for rehabilitation. The Harmanpreet Kaur-led team will have converted keeper Yastika Bhatia as the first-choice stumper.

Taniya’s selection was surprising as the Neetu David-led selection committee has brought back a keeper-batter, who has in all totaled 166 runs in 22 ins at an average of 9.72 with a strike rate of 94. The casualty was Bengal’s Richa Ghosh, who has scored 191 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 112 plus but is now on the reserves list as she has fallen off the radar in recent times.

Veteran leg-spinner Poonam Yadav, who is no longer a certainty in the squad, is also on the standby list along with seamer Simran Dil Bahadur. The three pacers on the list are Meghna Singh, Renuka Thakur, and Pooja Vastrakar.

India are in Group A with Australia, Barbados, and Pakistan. Sri Lanka, England, New Zealand, and South Africa are placed in Group B. Their campaign starts on July 29 with a game against Australia. The top two teams from the respective pools will progress to the semi-finals.

The league-cum-knockout women’s tournament kicks off with a match between women’s 2020 T20 World Cup finalists Australia and India on July 29, with the bronze and gold medal matches scheduled for August 7.

The Birmingham Commonwealth Games, being held from July 28 to August 8, will see 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories compete across 11 days. Birmingham 2022 will be the first major multi-sport event in history to award more medals to women than men.

Team India squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, S. Meghana, Taniyaa Sapna Bhatia (Wk), Yastika Bhatia (Wk), Deepti Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Thakur , Jemimah Rodrigues, Radha Yadav, Harleen Deol, Sneh Rana.

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