Bengal’s rookie batswoman Richa Ghosh was the only new face in a 15-member Harmanpreet Kaur-led India squad announced for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia, starting February 21.
The team has no other surprises and 15-year-old Haryana schoolgirl Shafali Verma will also be playing her first global meet following some good performances at the international level in her first season.
Richa has been rewarded for her exploits in the recent women’s Challenger Trophy, scoring 36 off 26 balls in one of the games with four boundaries and a six.
“I never thought that this will happen so fast. It’s hard to believe and the feeling hasn’t sunk in yet,” Richa told PTI. “My first role model has always been my dad from whom I learned cricket. Then it was Sachin Tendulkar, who will always remain my idol.”
In the Bengal team, Richa has been backed by none other than Jhulan Goswami and she always exchanged notes with India wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who incidentally hails from her hometown Siliguri.
“Jhulan di always supported me in the team while I always got help from Wriddhi da. He remains busy but we speak on and off. I’m really grateful to them and to my coaches, the Cricket Association of Bengal for supporting me.”
The selectors also announced a 16-member squad for a tri-series in Australia prior to the T20 World Cup, with Nuzhat Parveen being added as the 16th member. That tournament starts on January 31 and also features England.
World T20 Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodriguez, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Tania Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gaikwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy.
Tri-Series (16 member) squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodriguez, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Tania Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gaikwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Nuzhat Parveen.