USA Cricket name U19 Women’s squad for historic World Cup

USA Bowler and Women's Vice Captain Geetika Kodali bowls

USA Cricket have named a squad of 15 for the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup set for January in South Africa. 

USA Cricket’s landmark qualification came automatically, as the only qualifying nation in the Americas region. Eleven teams also qualified automatically as full members, leaving four other nations (Rwanda, UAE, Scotland, Indonesia) who earned their way via regional qualifiers, rounding out the 16 team field. 

Along with the 15 named to the squad directly, five were named as non-traveling reserves. 

“This World Cup is the realization of a dream for these young players who will get the honor of being the first female cricketers to ever represent USA at any Cricket World Cup,” USA Cricket Board Member and Women and Girls Committee Chair, Nadia Gruny was quoted in the announcement.

“Our squad represents a new generation of American cricketers and we’re most excited to see them display their brand of cricket as rising stars announcing themselves on the World stage. Coming off series wins this summer against West Indies U19s and the UAE U19s last month, our players have had some great preparation going into South Africa. We thank all of the girls, their parents, and the wider American cricket community for their unwavering support as the squad looks forward to taking on the challenges ahead. Congratulations to all of the players selected to represent Team USA.”

“There were some tough choices to be made in selecting the final 15 players, but this speaks volumes about the depth that we’ve developed within the Women and Girls game in the United States over the past two years,” Interim Chair of the Women’s National Selection Panel, Ritesh Kadu said.

“We showed throughout the year the kind of cricket that we are capable of playing and we are really looking forward to everyone representing the country to the best of their abilities in South Africa.” 

2022 ICC Hall of Fame inductee Shivanarine Chanderpaul, coach of the USA Women’s and Women’s U19 teams, is no stranger to World Cup competition.

“After a very pleasing tour of Dubai, the Selection Panel has now settled on our final squad to focus on its final preparation for this historic World Cup,” Chanderpaul said. “There were some tough choices to be made in selecting the final 15 players, but this speaks volumes about the depth that we’ve developed within the Women and Girls game in the United States over the past two years. We showed throughout the year the kind of cricket that we are capable of playing and we are really looking forward to everyone representing the country to the best of their abilities in South Africa.”

Selection is typically scrutinized heavily by followers of the national teams. Sure to be the topic of controversy this time around is the exclusion of Lisa Ramjit. Veteran of 14 of USA’s 22 Women’s T20Is since her debut at age 15 in 2019, Ramjit’s experience is difficult to dismiss. Her most recent innings on September 24 produced 48 runs, not out, from 55 balls in a loss on the final ball to UAE at the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 7th place playoff in Abu Dhabi. Ramjit scored the second most runs in the qualifiers for USA, and was one of only five USA batters to score more than two four run boundaries in the tournament, finishing with 7.

Ramjit also sits third all time for USA Women in career runs scored in T20Is, with 137, first in career batting average, at 27.40, and tied for second in career games played with Shebani Bhaskar. Statistical achievement aside, perhaps what will be most missed will be Ramjit’s solid fielding and athleticism.

Citing school responsibilities, Ramjit skipped a recent trip to UAE, where the USA U19 team went 3-2 against the hosts in preparation for the World Cup. With the NGB struggling financially, the trip was partially funded via a Gofundme fundraiser established by team members. Ramjit was included as a non-traveling reserve.

Still, experience at the Women’s senior team level abounds within the young team, thanks to a commitment by the women’s program over the last two years to focus on the future. Eleven members of the U19 team bring a total of 88 T20i matches worth of experience to the side, including 13 from Isani Vaghela, 12 each from Captain Geetika Kodali and Vice Captain Anika Kolan, and 10 from Suhani Thadani. Thadani also currently sits in first place all time for USA in T20i wickets with 10 at an average of 8.90. 

Captain Geetika Kodali brings the most extensive experience in the group, with two seasons of Fairbreak and one season of CPL behind her as a member of the Trinbago Knight Riders. Kodali made headlines last summer as the first to take a hat trick in the new 6ixty format. 

Team USA Women’s U19 Squad

Geetika Kodali (Captain)

Anika Kolan (WK) (Vice Captain)

Aditi Chudasama

Bhumika Bhadriraju 

Disha Dhingra

Isani Vaghela

Jivana Aras

Laasya Mullapudi

Pooja Ganesh (WK)

Pooja Shah

Ritu Singh

Sai Tanmayi Eyyunni 

Snigdha Paul

Suhani Thadani

Taranum Chopra

Reserves

Chetnaa Prasad

Kasturi Vedantham

Lisa Ramjit

Mitali Patwardhan 

Tya Gonsalves

Head Coach: Shivnarine Chanderpaul

Team Manager: John Aaron

Team Analyst: Rohaan Gosala

S&C/Assistant Coach: Burt Cockley

Physio/Medical: Dr. Audrey Adams

Assistant Team Manager: Joan Alexander-Serrano

Selection Panel: Ritesh Kadu (Interim Chair), Jyotsna Patel, Deepali Rokade

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