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All-round strength in focus as India gets ready for England

Last updated on 03 Dec 2023 | 04:19 PM
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All-round strength in focus as India gets ready for England

With six proper all-rounders, a lot of young blood, and her ace pacer returning, Harmanpreet Kaur will be leading a strong Indian squad against England in Mumbai

The short but packed home season of the Indian women’s team starts on December 6, and the Women In Blue have two big challenges staring at them. The England side is already here and will play a three-match T20 series along with a lone Test, and the Australian side will also play a three-match ODI series along with the three T20Is and a Test. 

With the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup scheduled to be held next year in Bangladesh, these six T20I games, along with the Women’s Premier League (WPL), are going to be extremely crucial for the Harmanpreet Kaur and her team, as they would look to better their performance from the last T20 World Cup in South Africa where they reached the semifinal, but lost to eventual champions Australia. 

The England T20I series, beginning on December 8, will also be the first international assignment for the new head coach, Amol Muzumdar. He was also spotted watching the T20I series between India A and England A women closely, as the next in line of the Indian women’s team displayed what they have at the Wankhede. 

With the likes of Shreyanka Patil and Kanika Ahuja already making the senior squad from the A side (which played a three-match T20 series with England A), along with Saika Ishaque and Titas Sadhu, it seems like the team management has already locked in the core group of players for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Here are the key points in focus as India goes into the England series. 

All-rounders galore in India’s squad 

Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Shreyanka Patil, Kanika Ahuja, Amanjot Kaur, Minnu Mani - that’s as many as six allrounders, who are a part of the 16-member T20I squad who will face England in just a few days. Amongst the six, except Vastrakar and Amanjot, the rest are spin bowling allrounders, and they will be extremely crucial going forward with the impending T20 World Cup being hosted by Bangladesh. 

Assuming that India plays Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet and Richa Ghosh in the top five, the all-rounders allow the Women In Blue to have players with batting ability till number nine. Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Kanika Ahuja, Minnu Mani, Amanjot Kaur, and Shreyanka Patil can all slot in from number six to eight in the final eleven. Even the pacer Titas can pitch in with the bat if needed. 

This squad also provides six to seven bowling options to Harmanpreet, with the likes of Verma and the skipper herself being more than capable with the ball in hand. 

Such good balance in the squad ideally puts them in a great position against England, who look much stronger on paper. However, as we have seen in the past with the Indian women’s side, the right selection calls on the game day are crucial, and India would not want to mess that up.

India riding on young blood  

The Indian team management has a lot of young players in the side, with the likes of Kanika, Shreyanka, Titas, Saika, Minnu and Mannat Kashyap being new to international cricket. All except Mannat have played the inaugural season of the WPL, who is fresh from the successful campaign earlier this year in the U19 World Cup in South Africa. 

With the World Cup next year, it would be extremely crucial to how they perform against England and how the team management handles them because they have been guilty of not showing enough trust in their young guns in the past.

Amongst the newcomers, it would be especially interesting to see how Shreyanka Patil and Saika Ishaque perform because, after a good WPL last year and the domestic season this year (and a good Carribean Premier League in Patil's case), both have a great opportunity to cement their place in the senior side and book their tickets to Dhaka for the World Cup. 

Renuka Singh Thakur finally returns!

Ever since she debuted for India against Australia at Canberra in 2021, Renuka Singh Thakur has not only been amongst the wickets but also India’s go-to pacer in the format. With the selectors overlooking Shikha Pandey, Thakur would again lead the India pace attack, which would also have the young and fiery Titas Sadhu along with Pooja Vastrakar. 

The conditions in Mumbai wouldn’t be very conducive to fast bowling, especially if they are anything like the Australia series last year. However, with the lights on in the evening, the ball does swing, and no one swings it more than Thakur on the India side, as Harmanpreet would again rely on her vicious inswinger for early wickets. 


The Women In Blue have the squad to challenge England and defeat them in home conditions. However, unlike in the past, they would have to back their squad with the right selections of the eleven that will take the field, execute their on-field strategies with enough precision, and be flexible with their plans. 

These are all the problems that have plagued them before, and with the World Cup scheduled for next year, these six T20Is are ideal to prepare themselves to be worthy of the trophy they came extremely close to three years ago. 

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