Women's T20 World Cup: Renuka Singh backed to swing it India’s way

By, Chandigarh
Feb 07, 2023 09:22 PM IST

The pacer comes off a consistent year that saw her named in the ICC honours list for 2022 and will be key as India chase their first World Cup title

Being taken for 39 runs in three overs can’t be ideal going into the T20 World Cup in South Africa, though India will hope Renuka Singh takes it in her stride. It was a only a warm-up game and the defeat came against formidable Australia.

India's Renuka Singh(AFP)
India's Renuka Singh(AFP)

It was still a surprise because the Shimla-born player has been the most consistent bowler for India since her international debut in 2021. Renuka, 27, was rewarded by being named the ICC Women’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year.

Renuka has impressed with her pace and swing, quickly establishing herself in an Indian side that saw the retirement of stalwart Jhulan Goswami last year.

Her showing in the warm-up game would hurt as it was against Australia that Renuka had the most success in 2022. Of the seven T20Is against Australia last year, she took eight wickets. Six of them came in the two narrow defeats to the Aussies at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games last summer, including a four-for in the preliminary round and two more in the final defeat.

“Renuka did leak runs during the warm-up game, but she was up against Australia. They must have also studied her bowling. She has been impressive for India, leading the fast bowlers’ pack. It is important that she keeps changing her bowling style against a top team like Australia. I am sure with the new bowling coach coming in (Australia’s Troy Cooley is with the squad), we should see Indian bowlers do well in the World Cup,” former India seamer Amita Sharma said.

Renuka hit headlines in the CWG preliminary phase after a stand out performance dismissing Alyssa Healy, Meg Lanning, Beth Mooney and Tahlia McGrath. She was also India’s best bowler in the final, where India faltered in their run chase.

Her 17 wickets in 11 matches at an excellent economy of 5.21 in 2022 saw her make it to the ICC honours list. She scalped 40 wickets for India last year from just 29 matches across the two white-ball formats, stepping up in place of Jhulan. Renuka had replaced Shikha Pandey on her India ODI debut against Australia in 2021. It will be interesting to see how they bowl in tandem at the World Cup. India face Pakistan in the opening game on Sunday.

“Shikha and Renuka both bowl effective in-swingers. It remains to be seen how Harman (skipper Harmanpreet Kaur) uses their eight overs. Shikha’s experience and Renuka’s talent can work wonders,” Amita added.

India face Bangladesh in their next warm-up game on Wednesday.

One of her early coaches, Pawan Sen, praised the work ethic of the bowler nicknamed “Perry” (after Aussie medium-pacer Elysse Perry) as it was after a struggle that she made her India debut.

“She lost her father when she was a toddler. Her mother raised her and her brother. She was utterly disappointed when she was not selected for India in 2019 despite a fine domestic season. She fought back and performed even better the next season. She has gained strength and pace in the last two years. She is a thinking bowler and will adapt to the conditions and bring out her top game in the World Cup,” he said.

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    Shalini Gupta is a member of the Chandigarh sports team and has been a sports journalist for 10 years. She mainly writes on cricket.

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