BAN v IND: Asha, Sajana earn maiden call-ups; Jemimah Rodrigues rested

Asha Sobhana, S Sajana get their first call-ups to the India squad while Jemimah Rodrigues is recovering from a back injury

Shajin Mohanan S
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Asha Sobhana India

Asha Sobhana celebrates a wicket © BCCI/ WPL

Women's Premier League (WPL) stars are rewarded as India named the squad for the five-match T20I series in Bangladesh against the hosts. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) leg-spinner Asha Sobhana and Mumbai Indians allrounder S Sajana have earned their maiden call-ups while left-arm spinner Radha Yadav (Delhi Capitals) and Dayalan Hemalatha (Gujarat Giants) make a return to the side. Jemimah Rodrigues has been rested from the 16-member squad due to a back niggle.

Women's CricZone understands that Rodrigues is currently at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) as she is recovering from the back injury. The batter from Mumbai retired hurt during West Zone's quarter-final against Central Zone in the Senior Women's Inter Zonal Multi-Day Trophy before coming back to bat again at the backend. She didn't field in the rest of the match and also didn't feature in the semi-final of the tournament. It is learnt that the Delhi Capitals player has been rested as a precautionary measure keeping the hectic upcoming season - that includes the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh - in mind.

33-year-old Asha plays for Pondicherry in domestic cricket having represented Kerala and Railways before moving to the side. The domestic veteran had a breakout season of sorts with the RCB as they lifted the WPL 2024 trophy in March this year. The leg-spinner was the second leading wicket-taker just behind her teammate Shreyanka Patil. She took 12 wickets at an average of 15.41 from ten matches and was instrumental in RCB's maiden trophy triumph. She also became the first Indian to pick up a five-wicket haul in the competition during the second edition.

Sajana, who represents Kerala in domestic cricket, was picked up by Mumbai Indians at the mini auction ahead of the second season and had a blockbuster debut where she hit a six to help Mumbai to a thrilling win off the last ball. Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who also captains Mumbai Indians in the WPL, had high words of praise for the allrounder and her finishing abilities.

India T20I squad for Bangladesh

Hemalatha, who played 15 T20Is for India so far, is called up to the side on the back of some stellar performances in domestic cricket and WPL while left-arm spinner Radha will be returning to the India squad for the first time since T20 World Cup 2023 in South Africa. Radha picked up ten wickets to help Capitals to the final of WPL 2024 where they eventually finished as the runners-up for the second time in as many attempts.

The squad is spin heavy with off-spinners Deepti Sharma and Shreyanka leading the attack. Saika Ishaque retained her place from the side that played Australia at home while fellow left-arm spinner Mannat Kashyap has been dropped alongside off-spinning allrounder Minnu Mani. Kanika Ahuja also missed out as she continues to recover from the stress facture she suffered before the WPL 2024. 

The pace contingent will be led by Renuka Singh Thakur and she will be supported by allrounders Pooja Vastrakar and Amanjot Kaur with young Titas Sadhu for company.

India will arrive in Bangladesh on April 23 and the first T20I will be played on April 28 and the series will continue till May 9 with all the matches set to played in Sylhet. The last time India toured Bangladesh was in July 2023 where they beat the hosts 2-1 in the T20I series. India will be hoping to use the series as an opportunity to fine tune their squad for the T20 World Cup 2024 in the same country.

India squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Dayalan Hemalatha, Sajana Sajeevan, Richa Ghosh (wk), Yastika Bhatia (wk), Radha Yadav, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Amanjot Kaur, Shreyanka Patil, Saika Ishaque, Asha Sobhana, Renuka Singh Thakur, Titas Sadhu