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49 days to WWC T20: Senior T20 challenger trophy & Squad selection

First things first. There are only 49 days left for the World Cup and the selectors will be keen to pick up the best team to send to Australia. For the domestic players, this Senior T20 challenger Trophy is the final opportunity to grab a spot. 

Talking about the spot, we have a few vacancies which have to be filled up as early as possible. This challenger trophy has Harmanpreet Kaur, who is returning to the domestic tournament after a while and it is not only great practice for her but also she will be keeping an eye on the talents around her. 

She will be leading India A.

 India A squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Taniya Bhatia (WK), Shivali Shinde (WK), Jasia Akhtar, Priya Puniya, Deepti Sharma, Devika Vaidya, Sneh Rana, Mansi Joshi, Meghna Singh, Komal Jhanjhad, Meenu Mani, Radha Yadav, Bharati Fulmali.

While the players Priya Puniya, Taniya Bhatia, Devika Vaidya are the front-runners from this team, we already have players like Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav who are an automatic selection. Having said that, both Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma will be using this opportunity to work hard on their batting, most precisely power-hitting. 

Priya Puniya and Devika Vaidya had a good run against Australia A despite ending up on the losing side. This will be helpful for them as well. For Taniya Bhatia though, there will be healthy competition between the other two front-runners, Nuzhat Parween and Sushma Verma.

Coming to Smriti Mandhana’s team, India B, the team has a perfect mixture of young, experienced players. With the leading wicket-taker of the tournament Anuja Patil in the team, Smriti will have plenty of options when it comes to the bowling. For Anuja Patil, this tournament is important as there are plenty of all-rounders in the tournament waiting outside. She will be looking to bring in her best as well. 

The experienced hands of Vanitha will play a major role in the tournament and powerful performances here can take Vanitha places once again as well.

India B: Smriti Mandhana (c), Sushma Verma (wk), R Kalpana (wk), Vanitha V.R, Jemimah Rodrigues, Anuja Patil, Poonam Yadav, Pooja Vastrakar, Shikha Pandey, Renuka Singh, Anjali Sarvani, Sushri Dibyadarshini, Tanuja Kanwer, Richa Ghosh.

Veda Krishnamurty-led India C is a tricky team with loads of talent but less international experience compared to the other two teams. You can call them all underdogs. Hey, even the captain Veda Krishnamurty is not a sure pick in the playing XI of the Indian team, blame her inconsistency. Having said that, Veda did well with the bat in all the matches to grab a few important runs at the Australian soil recently. If she can convert the starts to big scores, India will be in a safer place for the upcoming series as well as the World Cup.

Another player who will be looking to work her consistency is Shefali Verma. The 15-year-old had a ton while representing India A recently against Australia A but she became a bunny to Strano who got better of her literally every single time. For Shefali, this tournament will be a learning phase. She might look to change her approach a bit and it might work out as well. This is important considering the fact that she is adding more pressure on both Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues with her carelessness. With Priya Puniya catching up, Shefali must work hard to give herself a shot. 

Harleen Deol who missed out Australia A tour due to toe injury has been named in the squad and one must agree that she has recovered at the right time. 

This tournament is equally important to Rajeshwari Gayakwad as well. She is currently competing with the likes of a few young talents who might overtake her in a whisker. All eyes on the young talents as this is likely the last chance for them to grab their place. 

As the team goes head to head, you can witness the battle on Star Sports.  

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Gomesh Shanmugavelayutham

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