Shikha Pandey makes surprise India comeback for Women’s 2023 T20 World Cup

Shikha last played for India in October 2021 before being controversially dropped from the team

Updated - December 29, 2022 10:59 pm IST

Published - December 28, 2022 10:01 pm IST - New Delhi:

Shikha Pandey made a surprise return to India’s 15-member squad for the Women’s 2023 T20 World Cup in South Africa. File.

Shikha Pandey made a surprise return to India’s 15-member squad for the Women’s 2023 T20 World Cup in South Africa. File. | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Veteran pacer Shikha Pandey on Wednesday made a surprise return to India's 15-member squad for the Women's 2023 T20 World Cup in South Africa.

The ICC event will be played from February 10 to 26.

Shikha last played for India in October 2021 before being controversially dropped from the team. Her inclusion also shows the lack of depth in the pace bowling department.

The 33-year-old, whose strength is to swing the ball, has featured in three Tests, 55 ODIs and 56 T20s.

Harmanpreet Kaur will lead the side with Smriti Mandhana being her deputy.

Jemimah Rodrigues has managed to retain her place in the team despite low returns in India's 1-4 series loss to the mighty Australia.

Left-arm pacer Anjali Sarvani is also part of the team following her debut series against Australia. The other pace bowling options include Renuka Thakur and Pooja Vastrakar, whose inclusion in the squad is subject to fitness.

The Australia series exposed India's frailties in the bowling department and team has a lot of work to do before the ICC event.

The spinners in the team include all-rounders Deepti Sharma and Devika Vaidya besides Radha Yadav and Rajeshwari Gayakwad.

Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh are already in South Africa with the U-19 team.

India had lost to Australia in the 2020 T20 World Cup final at the MCG.

The BCCI also announced the squad for the tri-series that will take place before the World Cup.

The World Cup reserves - Sneh Rana, S Meghana and Meghna Singh - are part of the tri-series squad. The tri-series involving India, South Africa and West Indies begins January 19.

Sushma Verma, who last played for India in March 2021, has made a comeback for the tri-series. Uncapped all-rounder Amanjot Kaur is the lone fresh face in the squad.

India will open their tri-series campaign against hosts South Africa on January 19 before facing West Indies on January 23. All teams play each other twice before the final on February 2.

Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (Vice-Captain), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Richa Ghosh (wk) Jemimah Rodrigues, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Devika Vaidya, Radha Yadav, Renuka Thakur, Anjali Sarvani, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey.

India’s squad for Tri-series: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (Vice Captain), Yastika Bhatia (wk), Jemimah Rodrigues, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Devika Vaidya, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Radha Yadav, Renuka Thakur, Meghna Singh, Anjali Sarvani, Shushma Verma (wk), Amanjot Kaur, Pooja Vastrakar, Sabbhineni Meghana, Sneh Rana, Shikha Pandey.

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