The BCCI recently announced Team India's women's squad for the upcoming Asian Games 2023, and it featured quite a few surprises.
While the frontline names, including Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues and Rajeshwari Gayakwad, were named in the squad, other inexperienced and previously sidelined players were picked. Richa Ghosh notably made a comeback to the contingent, which features the uncapped trio of Kanika Ahuja, Titas Sadhu and Uma Chetry.
India women's squad for the Asian Games 2023: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (wk), Amanjot Kaur, Devika Vaidya, Anjali Sarvani, Titas Sadhu, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Minnu Mani, Kanika Ahuja, Uma Chetry (wk), Anusha Bareddy.
At the same time, several credentialed cricketers won't take part in the Asian Games, having been strangely cast aside by the selectors. These decisions have understandably come under severe criticism from fans and pundits alike in recent times.
Here are three Indian women's players who were unlucky to miss out on the Asian Games 2023 squad.
Note: Pooja Vastrakar, Sneh Rana and Harleen Deol, who have been named in the reserves, have not been considered for the purposes of this article.
#3 Radha Yadav
India picked two left-arm spinners for the Bangladesh series - Rashi Kanojiya and Anusha Bareddy. That meant Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Saika Ishaque didn't find a place in the side.
For the Asian Games, the selectors have named Gayakwad in the main squad and Ishaque in the reserves. However, Radha continues to be out of the fold, even though Kanojiya has been dropped and Bareddy was rather unimpressive in Bangladesh.
Radha might not be as consistent as she should be with the ball, but the others at India's disposal aren't significantly better. She is also excellent on the field and handy with the bat, making her a total package. The 23-year-old can consider herself unlucky to have missed out on the Asian Games 2023.
#2 Shreyanka Patil
Shreyanka Patil has been making waves at various levels of women's cricket. She was one of the breakout stars of the inaugural Women's Premier League (WPL), displaying her immense talent with both bat and ball for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Shreyanka has also managed to build on those performances. She was the Player of the Series in the Emerging Asia Cup and also snapped up a Caribbean Premier League (CPL) contract.
However, Shreyanka has been left out of India's squad for the Asian Games even as her RCB and India A teammate Kanika Ahuja has made the grade. While the selectors might not want another off-spinner to partner Deepti Sharma and Minnu Mani (with Sneh Rana in the reserves as well), the 20-year-old is an X-factor player who appears ready for the international stage.
#1 Shikha Pandey
Shikha Pandey was by far the best Indian pacer to take part in WPL 2023. In nine matches for the Delhi Capitals (DC), she scalped 10 wickets at an economy rate of 6.59, impressing all with her control, variations and all-phase ability.
However, Shikha's mixed fortunes with the national team continued as she failed to be picked for the Asian Games squad. The 34-year-old's exclusion surely cannot be explained by cricketing reasons, as India have opted to select a threadbare pace attack with barely any experience.
Shikha would've added immense value to the team during the Asian Games, and it's frankly beyond reason why India would leave out one of their greatest-ever fast bowlers.
Poll : Should India have selected these three players for the Asian Games?