2021 was filled with intriguing tours for the Indian women’s national cricket team. Many believe that the actual test for players starts when they face unfamiliar conditions, which are usually found away from home. Tours to Australia and England provided opportunities to assess some of India’s young talent, and it is only fair to say that a considerable few have succeeded and will be looked at by many in 2022.
The following is a list of players who are the ones to watch out for in 2022.
At only 17, Shafali Verma has become one of India’s most critical players across all formats. In the past year or so, Verma has been involved in Test matches against England and Australia, all of which were games away from home. She also holds the highest Strike Rate for a female cricketer in T20 cricket.
Verma does, at certain times, throw her wicket away — an aspect that she will be looking to improve upon in 2022. However, one must remember that she is just 17 and will undoubtedly mature as the years go by.
The next player to look forward to in 2022 is Shafali Verma’s opening partner Smriti Mandhana. The left-handed opener was one of the best players around the world in 2021. She got herself a Test hundred Down Under during India’s recent tour of Australia. Her white-ball performances mirrored her red-ball form as well.
Mandhana will be looking forward to kicking and continuing in a similar manner in 2022. She is one with considerable experience now and will also have to play a significant role in shouldering her team’s responsibilities.
Yet another left-handed batter who makes the list is Yastika Bhatia. She is another young prospect who broke into the Indian side in 2021 showing great promise, and she will be one to look out for in 2022. Bhatia largely cemented her place in the Indian side through vital performances against the Australians in Australia.
It looks like Bhatia will occupy the No. 3 spot in the batting line-up and help build on the openers’ start. With players like Mithali Raj coming towards the end of their career, fans will be looking at youngsters like Yastika Bhatia to come to the party.
The 18-year-old keeper-batter Richa Ghosh is another promising youngster Team India have been blessed with. A key feature of modern keepers is their ability to contribute with the bat. With unsatisfactory performances with the bat from Tania Bhatia, Ghosh was able to snap up her opportunity to enter the side.
Ghosh exhibited her potential to contribute with the bat in Australia by playing some crucial knocks towards the back end of the innings. Her ability to remain consistent with the bat and the gloves will have to withstand the test of time before she cements her place in the national side.
The sole fast bowler to make this list is Meghana Singh. Although she is fairly older than the rest of the players on this list, the swing bowler has a point to prove in 2022. Meghana was entrusted with the new ball in Australia, where she created havoc for the Australian batters under the lights.
Questions over Jhulan Goswami’s possible departure mean India will have to look for alternate options for new-ball bowlers. If Meghana Singh can continue to produce in 2022, she could well be seen as the long-term option for opening India’s bowling in both red-ball and white-ball cricket.