Harmanpreet Kaur will lead the Indian squad that will compete at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, that starts on July 28, as the Board of Control for Cricket announced a 15-member contingent.

Star opener Smriti Mandhana will be Harmanpreet’s deputy.

“The All-India Women’s Selection Committee met on Monday to pick the squad for the forthcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. This will be the first time that Women’s T20 International will be featured in the prestigious multi-sport event,” read a statement by the BCCI.

Sneh Rana, who was evidently rested for the recent series in Sri Lanka for managing her workload, returns to the squad while the big surprise is perhaps the absence of Richa Ghosh from the main 15. The young keeper-bat is in the standby list. She has not the best of returns with the bat and in the tour of Sri Lanka, Yastika Bhatia was given a run behind the stumps. Taniyaa Bhatia returns to the T20I squad as the other wicketkeeping option, despite not featuring in the Sri Lanka tour.

Also named in standby list is Poonam Yadav, the senior legspinner. India’s leading women’s T20I wicket-taker didn’t feature in the recent Sri Lanka series.

Harleen Deol, who was only in the ODI squad for the tour of Sri Lanka, also returns to the T20I fold now.

India has been placed in Group A, along with Pakistan, Barbados and Australia. They begin their campaign against Australia at Edgbaston on July 29, followed by the match against Pakistan on July 31. India plays it’s final group game against Barbados on August 3.

The top two teams from both groups proceed to the semifinal.

(More to follow)

Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, S. Meghana, Taniyaa Sapna Bhatia (Wk), Yastika Bhatia (Wk), Deepti Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Thakur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Radha Yadav, Harleen Deol, Sneh Rana.

Standby: Simran Dil Bahadur, Richa Ghosh, Poonam Yadav.

India’s T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), S Meghna, Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Simran Bahadur, Richa Ghosh (wk), Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh, Jemimah Rodrigues, Radha Yadav.

Group stage India's schedule

Date Opponent Venue
July 29 Australia Edgbaston
July 31
Pakistan Edgbaston
August 3 Barbados Edgbaston