Now that the Champions Trophy is over we can move on to the ICC Women’s World Cup. India start their campaign against hosts England on June 24 at the County Ground, Derby and while Australia and New Zealand are the favourites for the tournament, skipper Mithali Raj can still hope for a sharp turnaround in India’s fortune. The team finished at the lowly 7th position in the previous edition in 2013, but boast of some young talent this term which looks good for the future. 

India defeated South Africa in the final of the qualifiers which was held in Sri Lanka earlier this year to book their ticket to England. The team has a nice mix of veterans and young players who like to express themselves and will be playing their first World Cup.

We take a look at three Indian players who can turn the tide in India’s favour in the upcoming ICC event. 

Deepti Sharma

b’Deepti Sharma. ICC’

The left-handed opener from Uttar Pradesh was recently in the news for creating an opening partnership world-record. Deepti, along with Poonam Raut, became the first pair to share a 300-run stand in an ODI when they smashed 320 for the first wicket against Ireland in the recently concluded quadrangular series in South Africa.

Deepti’s 188 in the same match is the second highest individual score by a woman cricketer in ODIs. The 19-year-old has played 21 ODIs for India and has scored over 700 runs at an average of 49.66. She’s a sharp fielder and can also bowl some off-spin. With the ability to see off the new ball, the young opener could prove to a crucial player for India at the World Cup. 

Shikha Pandey

b’Shikha Pandey. PTI’

Air Force officer, Electronics Engineer and a fast bowler – Shikha Pandey has donned many hats in a small professional career and India will rely heavily on the 28-year-old pacer for early breakthroughs.

The first national woman cricketer from Goa, Shikha has been India’s go-to bowler for quite some time and has complimented veteran Jhulan Goswami. The pacer has 37 wickets to her name in 22 ODIs at an average of 18.64. Shikha has shown that she can be dangerous with both the new and the old ball and English conditions will only magnify her potency. 

Harmanpreet Kaur

b’Harmanpreet Kaur. BCCI’

The rockstar of Indian cricket, Harmanpreet Kaur is one of the most explosive players in the shortest format of the game. After her successful exploits in the Women’s Big Bash League, she lit up England’s domestic women’s T20 tournament with Surrey. 

The deputy to Mithali in the team has also shown that she has matured as an ODI batter. Harmanpreet’s match-winning 41* against South Africa in the World Cup qualifier final was a testament of her growing stature. 

She has the ability to anchor the innings during the middle overs and switch into an aggressor when required. With the experience of 69 ODIs and over 1600 runs in her kitty, Harmanpreet will be India’s most dangerous player.

India squad: Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Shikha Pandey, Nuzhat Parween (wk), Mithali Raj (c), Poonam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wk), Poonam Yadav.

Feature image: PTI/ICC/BCCI