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Asha Sobhana Breaks Age Record with Debut in India’s T20I Squad

In a move that has cricket fans buzzing with excitement, Asha Sobhana, Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s (RCB) standout player, has etched her name into Indian cricketing history. Recently, she made her very first appearance for India in the fourth Twenty20 International (T20I) against Bangladesh. Despite receiving her maiden call-up for the five-match T20I series earlier, Sobhana was resigned to the sidelines during the initial three matches. With a series victory firmly in India’s grasp, the team decided to bring in fresh legs, awarding the coveted debut to the leg-spinner, who had previously caught the eye of many with her impressive performances in the Women’s Premier League (WPL).

Sobhana’s debut was laden with significance even before she bowled her first international delivery, as she claimed the record of being the oldest debutant for India in the T20 format. At 33 years and 51 days old, she surpassed the previous record held by Seema Pujare, who made her T20I debut back in 2008 at the age of 32 years and 50 days. Her record-breaking moment came as Smriti Mandhana presented her with the team’s cap, a gesture symbolizing her official entry into the ranks of India’s T20I players. Pujare, whose record Sobhana broke, had an international career comprising 8 ODIs and one T20I.

Asha Sobhana’s rise to this prominent stage can be traced back to her sensational run in the WPL, where she finished as the second highest wicket-taker of the season, claiming 12 wickets altogether. Her pivotal role in RCB’s lineup was instrumental to the team securing their first ever championship trophy in its combined 17-year history of both the WPL and the Indian Premier League (IPL).

On the opposing side, the Bangladesh Women’s team also introduced a new talent, giving a debut to 14-year-old medium pacer Habiba Islam during the fourth T20I. The focus was equally on their young prodigy as Bangladesh hoped for a strong performance from their freshly minted player in what was also her first international clash. In a parallel milestone, India’s own Harmanpreet Kaur, the team captain, was celebrating her 300th game on the international cricket stage.

As the teams took to the field, the playing XIs were announced. The India Women’s lineup featured Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, D Hemalatha, Harmanpreet Kaur as captain, Richa Ghosh as wicketkeeper, Deepti Sharma, S Sajana, Pooja Vastrakar, Asha Sobhana, Titas Sadhu, and Radha Yadav. The Bangladesh Women’s team countered with Nigar Sultana Joty as captain and wicketkeeper, Nahida Akter, Dilara Akter Dola, Rubya Haider Jhelik, Murshida Khatun, Rabeya, Marufa Akter, Mst Shorifa Khatun, debutante Habiba Islam Pinky, Mst Ritu Moni, and Shorna Akter.

Amidst these fresh debuts and remarkable milestones, the fourth T20I between India and Bangladesh was poised to offer a compelling narrative, introducing new chapters for individual careers and national records alike. As Asha Sobhana stepped onto the field, ready to spin her legacy into the annals of Indian cricket, her remarkable journey reinforced the adage that some achievements are not bound by age, but rather defined by talent and determination.