Devika Vaidya. © Devika Vaidya

Devika Vaidya, the leg-spinning allrounder, has been appointed captain of the India A and Emerging squads for the tours of Bangladesh and the Emerging Asia Cup in Sri Lanka to be played in October. Sabbineni Meghana, the right-hand batter, will serve as her deputy.

The squad was selected by the All-India Women’s Selection Committee that met in Mumbai on Tuesday (September 10). They chose to hand Vaidya, who is also vice-captain of the Board President’s XI squad set to face South Africa, the reigns of the team. The 22-year-old has been in and out of the national set-up over the last couple of years. Having made her international debut in 2014, she has played only 10 internationals— the last of which came against England in April last year.

The selectors have handed out lifelines to the trio of Meghana, Nuzhat Parween and Ravi Kalpana— all of whom have played international cricket for India. While Parween and Kalpana, both wicket-keepers, have had more recent stint, Meghana was last picked in the Indian squad for the Asia Cup in Bangkok in 2016.

Parween was a member of India’s World Cup squad in England in 2017, but her last international outing came against Ireland during the quadrangular series in South Africa, prior to the mega event. Kalpana, on the other hand, most recently earned a call-up as cover for Taniya Bhatia during the limited overs series against England earlier this year. This was on the back of some stellar performances with the gloves during the one-day Challenger series in January 2019.

This international quartet will be joined by the likes of Sushree Dibyadarshini, the off-spinner who made an appearance for Velocity during the Women’s T20 Challenge in May, Manali Dakshini, the right-arm seamer, Tanuja Kanwer, the left-arm spinner, and Tanusree Sarkar, the off-spinning allrounder. All these players come into the squad on the back of strong performances in the domestic age-group and senior level tournaments.

Dakshini will lead the pace attack alongside Anjali Sarvani, the left-arm seamer, and Simran Dil Bahadur, the hard-hitting allrounder. Vaidya, Sarkar, Dibyadarshini, Kanwer, Minnu Mani and Rashi Kanojiya will form the spin group.

The batting unit is well stocked with plenty of options at the top of the order. All of Vaidya, Meghana, Yastika Bhatia, Tejal Hasabnis and Parween have experience having opened the innings before, but also have the ability to slot in anywhere in the order. Sarkar, Dibyadarshini, Bahadur and Kalpana are all handy in the middle/ lower order, and have the ability to find the boundary when needed.

India A are set to play three one-day matches and three T20s on their tour of Bangladesh between 4-14 October, before heading off to Sri Lanka for the Emerging Asia Cup between 20-28 October.

Squad: Devika Vaidya (captain), S Meghana (vice-captain), Yastika Bhatia, Tejal Hasabnis, Tanushree Sarkar, Simran Dil Bahadur, Nuzhat Parween, R Kalpana, Manali Dakshini, Kshama Singh, Anjali Sarvani, Minnu Mani, Sushree Dibyadarshini, Tanuja Kanwar, Rashi Kanojia

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