India and South Africa will begin their Women T20 World Cup preparations at full stream with the five-match T20I series scheduled to begin today in Surat. The hosts last played a T20I six months ago against England and will leave no stone unturned to fine tune their preparations for the mega event in Australia next year.
India women's T20 squad is flooded with a plenty of young talents and it is actually the start of post Mithali Raj era for India in T20Is, especially on paper. With less than five months left for the T20 World Cup, captain Harmanpreet Kaur and coach WV Raman eye this as a perfect opportunity to test the younger talent in the squad.
“As you know, World Cup is coming. That's why we are playing more T20s ahead of the tournament. We have 10-15 games to experiment and give chance to youngsters and see how they fit into the side,” Harmanpreet said on Monday.
15-year old Shafali Verma – who has received her maiden international call grabs the most spotlight along with Harleen Deol who made her debut during the home series against England in 2019. Shafali returned for a duck in the second practice game but has impressed in the last couple of years. If she makes a cut to the playing 11 tonight, Shafali will become the country's second youngest international cricketer in the T20Is.
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The visitors too will look to bank on the young talents as they too are without the experienced duo of Marizanne Kapp and Dane van Niekerk. slow left-arm Nonkululeko Mlaba has been earned a maiden call-up while Sune Luus has been the handed the leadership mantle.
India women’s squad for first three T20Is:
Pooja Vastrakar, Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Poonam Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Veda Krishnamurthy, Harleen Deol, Anuja Patil, Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Shafali Verma, Mansi Joshi
South Africa women’s squad:
Sune Luus (c), Anneke Bosch, Tasmin Brits, Shabnim Ismail, Sinalo Jafta, Nondumiso Shangase, Mignon du Preez, Lizelle Lee (wicket-keeper), Nadine de Klerk, Ayabonga Khaka, Lara Goodall, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukhune, Laura Wolvaardt