NEW DELHI: Shafali Verma, the right-handed opener, was selected captain of the Indian team on Monday for both the upcoming bilateral away T20 series against South Africa's U19 team and the inaugural U19 Women's T20 World Cup.
Richa Ghosh, a wicketkeeper-batsman, was also chosen for the team by the All-India Women's Selection Committee, with Shweta Sehrawat serving as vice-captain.
It is unexpected that Shafali and Richa were chosen for the U19 Women's T20 World Cup as they did not participate in India's U19 team preparations during the quadrangular series against West Indies and Sri Lanka's U19 teams in Visakhapatnam or the ongoing five-match series against New Zealand's development team in Mumbai.
After participating in the senior women's five-match T20I series against Australia that begins on December 9 in Mumbai, Shafali and Richa will join the India U19 team. Shafali made her India debut in the home series against South Africa in 2019, making history as the youngest cricketer to play in a Women's T20I match at the age of 15.
In addition to 242 runs from two Test outings, Shafali, aged 18, has played for India's senior women's team in 21 ODIs and 46 T20Is, scoring 531 and 1091 runs, respectively. In addition, she held the top spot among T20I batters in advance of the 2020 Women's T20 World Cup in Australia.
Like Shafali, Richa is a 19-year-old international player with experience who is renowned for her powerful lower-order hitting. In 17 ODIs and 25 T20Is, she has scored 311 and 314 runs for India, respectively.
Other standout members of the India U19 team include the right-handed batsmen Soumya Tiwari and G Trisha, as well as Hurley Gala, a pace all-rounder, Mannat Kashyap, a left-arm spinner, and wicketkeeper-batswoman Hrishita Basu, who have all put on outstanding performances in the team's current series against the New Zealand Development side.
16 teams will compete in the inaugural ICC U19 Women's T20 World Cup, which will be held in South Africa from January 14 to January 29, 2023. South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and Scotland are the other members of Group D. In the Super Six phase, where teams are divided into two groups of six, the top three teams from each group advance.