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India begins its ICC Women’s Championship campaign with a tour of South Africa
India will begin its campaign in the ICC Women’s Championship (2017-20) when it plays South Africa in a three-match ODI series at Kimberley (Feb. 5 & 7) and Potchefstroom (Feb. 10).
Six countries — West Indies, New Zealand, Australia, England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — have already played three matches each from October last. West Indies is leading the table with six points.
The host country of the next ICC Women’s World Cup in 2021, New Zealand, will get a direct entry into the tournament along with three other top teams in the Championship.
The BCCI has advised the ICC to treat the Championship as a six-team affair since India will not play Pakistan. The ICC Women’s Committee has been informed about the BCCI’s position, but the ICC is yet responded to the suggestion.
Mithali’s team, coached by former Baroda player Tushar Arothe, became famous following its fine run in the last World Cup, but it could be rusty not having played single international for well over six months.
“We don’t have injuries now. We had it though, during the World Cup. Harmanpreet was injured during one of the matches, and a lot of players had niggles that needed time to recover. So the break has given us time to work on ourselves, get more stronger for the upcoming series.
“Ideally we would have preferred to continue the momentum. We have been playing domestic matches and we had enough time to prepare for the series. A couple of them played in the Big Bash League. We have two more series lined up after the South Africa tour.’’
Mithali felt that getting used to the local conditions before the start of the series will always help. “We will get used to the bounce. This is our first international tournament where we will be playing with two new balls. It is important we get there early.”
India has played eight ODIs against South Africa on tour, winning four and losing three.
Mithali Raj (captain), Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Sushma Verma (wk), Ekta Bisht, Smriti Mandhana, Poonam Yadav, Punam Raut, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jemimah Rodrigues, Jhulan Goswami, Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Mona Meshram, Pooja Vastrakar, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia (wk).
Coach: Tushar Arothe.
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