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Women's Cricket

How Shikha Pandey forced her way back into the Indian squad for 2023 T20 World Cup

Indian selectors recalled the veteran pace bowling all-rounder Shikha Pandey to the team for the 2023 ICC Women's T20 World Cup.

Shikha Pandey Cricket

Shikha Pandey (Source: Goa Cricket Association)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 29 Dec 2022 12:37 PM GMT

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Wednesday, announced the Indian cricket team for the upcoming 2023 ICC Women's T20 World Cup to be held in South Africa.

While the women in blue squad majorly had all the regular names, the Indian selectors found it apt to recall the veteran pace bowling all-rounder Shikha Pandey to the team for the showpiece event.

Pandey last played a T20I for India more than a year back in October 2021 during India's tour of Australia in Carrara. The 33-year-old was since repeatedly ignored and even failed to make the cut to the Indian team for the 2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup, with the BCCI deciding to focus on the youngsters.

"If you do not perform, you do not get your chances," the then Indian coach Ramesh Powar had said after Pandey's exclusion in the World Cup squad earlier this year.

Moreover, she was also ignored for the three-team 2022 Women's T20 Challenge held in May.

With Shikha Pandey not having competed in top-level cricket for more than a year, is her inclusion to the World Cup squad justified?

First things first, the Indian pace-bowling stocks have looked rather clueless in recent times. While the young Renuka Thakur has established herself as the go to bowler for skipper Harmanpreet Kaur since her debut last year, the 26-year-old has failed to find a reliable partner.

While Pooja Vastrakar has been injury prone and has missed countless games, Meghana Singh has looked like a headless chicken in T20Is.

The BCCI even handed a debut to left-arm pacer Anjali Sarvani in their recent home series against Australia, but it would be a gamble to throw her at the deep end in a World Cup.

India badly needed someone experienced to lead their pace bowling attack, and so Shikha Pandey was the obvious choice.

Besides, she has not performed badly either in T20s in 2022.

Since being dropped from the ODI World Cup squad earlier this year, Pandey has played 16 domestic T20s and scalped 20 wickets. This is over and above the 208 runs she accumulated during those matches.

Pandey also travelled to Australia and set the club cricket scene on fire Down Under, which included a century on debut to go with consistent performances through out the season.

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