Mithali Raj will captain a 14-member India Women squad that has been gearing up for the upcoming ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier to be held in Colombo from 3-21 February, BCCI announced on Tuesday, January 3rd.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India made the decision and other than Mithali Raj, the team comprises Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Thirush Kamini, Veda Krishnamurthy, Devika Vaidya, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Sukanya Parida, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Deepti Sharma. Pacer Mona Meshram has been excluded from the squad for the Qualifiers.
Year 2016 has proved to be solid one for team India as they performed unbeatable in the last match played in the Asia Cup T20. Two of India’s main batswomen, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana, are currently playing the Big Bash in Australia.
Fortunately, Indian women’s team had a clean sweep against West Indies in the seventh round of their ICC Women’s ODI Championship games, but missed out by a whisker to be able to clinch a berth for the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup in England, finishing fifth in the eight-team competition. They earned 19 points after their sixth-round unplayed games against Pakistan when all six points were awarded to the arch rivals.
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The next big tournament — the World Cup qualifier is equally crucial and perfect for Indians to achieve a new feat. They are out in Group A with Sri Lanka, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Thailand while South Africa lead Group B comprising Pakistan, Bangladesh, Scotland and PNG.
India’s first warm-up match is up against South Africa before they go opening Qualifier against Sri Lanka on 7 February.
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The results (points and rank earned) of the tournaments will decide which teams to go directly to the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017.
The World Cup is scheduled to be in the UK from 26 June to 23 July.
Mithali Raj, who was the captain in the team’s last international T20 campaign – the World T20 played at home — is still retaining her ODI captaincy. This year in October, all-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur replaced Mithali Raj as T20 Captain.
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