T20 World Cup: Will India Women's dearth of quality pacers prove costly Down Under?

Source : SIFY
Last Updated: Wed, Feb 19th, 2020, 17:29:18hrs
T20 World Cup: Will India Women's dearth of quality pacers prove costly Down Under?

"I think fast bowling in general, if you look at the trend across the Big Bash earlier this season, has come back into vogue," said leading all-rounder Ellyse Perry ahead of the T20 World Cup set to be held in Australia, which indicates the advantage that sides with quality pacers will enjoy over the course of the tournament.  

The India eves team, however, is not one of them having opted for a conservative approach with regard to the team selection, in a squad mainly dependent on a strong top-order as well as formidable spinners.  

India's squad for ICC Women's T20 World Cup: Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy (Head coach: WV Raman).  

The squad for the World T20 lacks specialist pace-bowlers, with the four pacers selected for the tournament Shikha Pandey, Arundhati Reddy, Pooja Vastrakar and Mansi Joshi not rated as highly. 

Medium-pacer Shikha is the leader of the pace department, having made a superlative comeback to the T20I set-up on the back of excellent performances, after being dropped from the 2018 T20 World Cup squad. 

However, the 30-year-old's record in Australian conditions certainly leaves much to be desired having accounted for just four wickets in eight T20I matches at an average of 48.50 and an economy rate of 7.50. Her best figures read 2/33, painting a picture of a bowler who has certainly not relished bowling down under. 

Fellow pacer Arundhati Reddy has further failed to make her presence felt in Australian conditions, having picked just two wickets in four matches at an average of 37.50 and economy rate of 7.75. The 22-year-old's best bowling figures down under are a paltry 1/17 which is certainly an area of concern, ahead of the premier tournament. 

The rest of the pacers in the India eves squad: Pooja Vastrakar and Mansi Joshi, have never been involved in a competitive fixture down under, which is worrisome considering their inexperience.

Pooja, however, has accounted for 16 wickets in 20 T20I matches at an average of 20.50 and economy rate of 6.56. Mansi's tally reads three wickets in 8 T20I matches at an average of 58.66 and an economy rate of 7.04.  

While these players certainly enjoy the ability to make their presence felt with Pooja's effectiveness while bowling the bouncer as well as a yorker a positive sign, the pace department seems shorn of talent in comparison to the wealth of talent in other sides. As the India women gear up to battle it out against the likes of Megan Schutt, Shabnim Ismail in pace-friendly conditions, the absence of world-class pacers might come back to haunt them.