Smriti Mandhana, the India Women opener, is set to return to international cricket after a long injury lay-off. She was on Monday (May 15) named in the squad to travel to England for the ICC Women’s World Cup in June and July.
The Mithali Raj-led side qualified for the tournament finishing as winners of the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Sri Lanka earlier this year, beating South Africa Women in the final.
Mandhana was ruled out of the qualifier after sustaining a ligament tear during a WBBL match for Brisbane Heat and, since then, hasn’t played a competitive match. She was aiming to make a return in time for the World Cup.
She is the only change from the squad playing the Women’s Quadrangular Series in South Africa, with Devika Vaidya, the allrounder, missing out after picking up an injury during a practice match ahead of the quadrangular.
Poonam Raut retains her place following impressive returns in the quadrangular on her comeback. She had been selected for the South Africa tour based on strong domestic returns, helping Railways retain the domestic One-Day title while finishing second among the top run-getters in the inter-state Twenty20 tournament with 273 runs in seven matches at an average of 68.50. She also scored an aggregate of 346 runs at an average of 86.50 in four three-day inter-zonal matches.
BCCI’s squad announcement came soon after her record opening partnership with Deepti Sharma against South Africa Women.
Jhulan Goswami, who recently became the leading wicket-taker in Women’s ODIs, will lead the pace attack that also features Shikha Pandey and Mansi Joshi. Pandey has had good returns in South Africa so far with 13 wickets to her name, including 5 for 20 in the warm-up against Zimbabwe.
Nuzhat Parween, who made her ODI debut on Monday, has been included as a back-up wicketkeeper option for Sushma Verma.
MD Thirushkamini and Vaidya, who both had Player of the Match performances in the qualifier, against Ireland and Sri Lanka respectively, won’t make the trip to England.
India Women squad: Mithali Raj (capt), Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mona Meshram, Poonam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Ekta Bisht, Sushma Verma, Mansi Joshi, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Nuzhat Parween.