Shafali Verma has been named India's captain for the inaugural ICC U19 Women's T20 World Cup, which will be played in South Africa in January 2023. The decision came to the fore when the selectors named the contingent for the same on Monday, December 5.
Apart from the dashing opener, wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh is also a part of the contingent. The move comes as a surprise considering that the duo have been regulars with the senior Indian women's team for a while now and haven't been in and around the U19 setup that just defeated New Zealand in a five-match series.
The reactions to this were mixed. While some reckoned that the selectors have made the right call in prioritizing winning the U19 World Cup, there were other fans who weren't in favor of the move.
On that note, let's look at three reasons why Shafali taking part in the U19 World Cup is not the right move.
#1 It deprives another player of an opportunity to develop
While U19 World Cups need to keep winning at a high importance, the development of players is equally important.
The experience gained in the tournament and the sheer pressure that comes with it quickens the process of nurturing raw talents into finished products.
To that end, Shafali's appointment as the captain of the side hampers the development of potentially two players.
Shweta Sehrawat, who led India in the series against New Zealand, could have further enhanced her captaincy credentials at the World Cup.
Shafali being named in the squad also eats into the spot that another opening batter could have occupied to develop faster.
#2 Shafali won't gain much at the U19 World Cup
Shafali has had her issues as a batter in international cricket, especially against short-pitched deliveries. Yet, you'd think that her best chance of overcoming the same would be to play more at the top level, if not grinding it out in domestic cricket.
By captaining India at the U19 World Cup, she gets to do neither. Having played at the top level for three years now, she may not have much to gain in terms of upskilling herself as a batter at the U19 World Cup.
Mind you, this is by no means any disrespect to the players turning up at the tournament. For all we know, she could be tested to the hilt by unknown bowlers in the tournament. Yet, it's a big if at this point.
#3 Hampers her preparation for the senior Women's T20 World Cup
Shafali has previously occupied the top spot in the ICC Player Rankings for women in T20Is. That, coupled with the belligerent partnership she has formed at the top with Smriti Mandhana, has made her a pivotal cog in the Indian setup.
One expects the Rohtak-born opener to make the Indian squad for the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in February, barely 12 days after the final of the Women's U19 World Cup. A tri-series in South Africa that also features the West Indies is set to overlap with the U19 World Cup in January.
This would clearly mean that Shafali and Richa Ghosh would both miss that tri-series. The duo missing this just ahead of the T20 World Cup is bound to hamper their preparations for the marquee event.
While it's a risk that the selectors have decided to go in with, it doesn't seem like the wisest move from the outset.
Where do you stand with Shafali Verma being named India's captain for the Women's U19 World Cup? Let us know in the comments section below!
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