India’s white-ball captains Harmanpreet Kaur and Mithali Raj along with star opener Smriti Mandhana will lead Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity as the squads for the upcoming women’s T20 Challenge scheduled from November 4 to 9 in the UAE were named on Sunday.

All three senior players led the teams during the last edition also and their appointments were on the expected lines.

The most notable inclusion was Thailand’s Natthakan Chantham, who is the first from her nation to get a call-up in the mini-league.

Chantham scored her country’s first Women’s T20 World Cup half-century in Australia earlier this year.

The T20 Challenge, to be played during the IPL play-offs, will begin with last year’s finalist Supernovas taking on Velocity in the opening game.

“The best of Indian women’s cricket will combine with some of the leading stars from England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh and New Zealand in a four-match tournament,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah was quoted in a media release.

Each team has four overseas players each.

Here are the three squads for the women’s T20 Challenge:

Squads for the women’s T20 Challenge

Supernovas Trailblazers Velocity
Harmanpreet Kaur  (C) Smriti Mandhana (C) Mithali Raj (C)
Jemimah Rodrigues (VC) Deepti Sharma (VC) Veda Krishnamurthy (VC)
Chamari Atapattu Punam Raut Shafali Verma
Priya Punia Richa Ghosh Sushma Verma (WK)
Anuja Patil D. Hemalatha Ekta Bisht
Radha Yadav Nuzhat Parween (WK) *Meghna Singh
Taniya Bhatia (WK) Rajeshwari Gayakwad Shikha Pandey
Shashikala Siriwardene Harleen Deol Devika Vaidya
Poonam Yadav Jhulan Goswami Sushree Dibyadarshini
Shakera Selman Simaran Dil Bahadur Manali Dakshini
Arundhati Reddy Salma Khatun Leigh Kasperek
Pooja Vastrakar Sophie Ecclestone Danielle Wyatt
Ayushi Soni Natthakan Chantham Suné Luus
Ayabonga Khaka Deandra Dottin Jahanara Alam
Muskan Malik Kashvee Gautam M. Anagha
*Mansi Joshi was replaced in the Velocity squad

Amid Covid-19 pandemic, there were question marks over the event with no selection committee in place till 10 days back.

However BCCI president Sourav Ganguly was always confident about holding the event and once Neetu David-led selection committee was appointed, the decks got cleared.

The other issue was the dates of the tournament clashed with Women’s Big Bash League, which starts later this month. None of the top players from Australia and also the star attractions from England and New Zealand are available this time around.

In fact, BCCI’s move to have the T20 Challenge in October invited criticism from star keeper-opener Alyssa Healy who didn’t hide her disappointment on social media. The top foreign stars to participate in the tournament include batter Deandra Dottin of the West Indies, England’s left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone and her teammate Danielle Wyatt.

From Sri Lanka there is Chamari Atapattu, Shashikala Siriwardene, South Africa’s Ayabonga Khaka and Bangladesh’s Jahanara Alam, Salma Khatun will bolster the various teams.

The other foreign players are Shakera Selman of West Indies, Sune Luus of South Africa and White Ferns’ only representative Leigh Kasperek.

Thirty-odd Indian players due to take part in the three-team competition have already been asked to assemble in Mumbai by October 13.

The players will then quarantine for more than a week and they will be tested multiple times in that period.

The players are likely to depart for UAE on October 22, after which they will go undergo a six-day quarantine like all players competing in the IPL.

They will enter the event’s bio-bubble after three negative RT-PCR tests.

The venue of the event has not been announced yet but it is likely to be held in Sharjah.

Schedule for women's T20 challenge

Sr No. Date Time (UAE) Time (IST) Team 1 Team 2
Match 1 04/11/20 6:00 PM 7:30 PM Supernovas Velocity
Match 2 05/11/20 2:00 PM 3:30 PM Velocity Trailblazers
Match 3 07/11/20 6:00 PM 7:30 PM Trailblazers Supernovas
Match 4 09/11/20 6:00 PM 7:30 PM Final

(With PTI inputs)