Six new faces in India’s squad; Shikha, Veda, Taniya among those dropped
Prathyusha Challaru, Monika Patel, Simran Dil Bahadur, Yastika Bhatia, Ayushi Soni and Swetha Verma have earned their maiden call-ups to the India’s squad for their series against South Africa, the BCCI announced on Saturday (February 27). Ekta Bisht, Anuja Patil, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia and Shikha Pandey have been dropped from both squads, in what comes as a surprise move, while Dayalan Hemalatha, who last played in February 2019, has been named in the ODI squad.
Prathyusha is the leg-spinning allrounder while Patel, the left-armer, adds to the seam-bowling strength. Yastika Bhatia and Ayushi Soni add to the batting power, with the former a left-handed opener and the latter a lower-middle order batter, about whom Harmanpreet Kaur had talked highly of in the lead up to the Women’s T20 Challenge.
Two separate 18-member teams have been named for ODIs and T20Is. While Mithali Raj, Hemalatha, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika and Jhulan Goswami are only part of the 50-over squad, Shafali Verma, Harleen Deol, Nuzhat Parween, Soni, Arundhati Reddy, Patel and Dil Bahadur are part of only the T20I setup. Mansi Joshi, who wasn’t part of India’s squad for the T20 World Cup last year, returns to both the setups.
Interestingly, Sushma Verma, who played the last of her 19 T20Is in 2018, makes an appearance in the T20I squad in place of the incumbent Taniya, who has the most wicket-keeping dismissals in T20Is for India. Kaur and Mandhana continue to be the deputies in ODIs and T20Is.
W V Raman, who took India to the T20 World Cup in Australia, will continue to coach the side as his contract has been extended after it expired in December last year, espncricinfo reported. Team manager Trupti Bhattacharya and physio Tracy Fernandes will also be part of the support staff as their contracts also has been renewed.
India and South Africa will play five ODIs and three T20Is, all at the Bharat Ratna Shree Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana International Stadium, with the first ODI to be played on March 7. The tour will come to an end with the final T20I to be played on March 23.
ODI: Mithali Raj (c), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), D. Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wk), Swetha Verma (wk), Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, C. Prathyusha, Monica Patel
T20I: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sushma Verma (wk), Nuzhat Parveen (wk), Ayushi Soni, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Mansi Joshi, Monica Patel, C. Prathyusha, Simran Dil Bahadur
1st ODI – March 7
2nd ODI – March 9
3rd ODI – March 12
4th ODI – March 14
5th ODI – March 17
1st T20I – March 20
2nd T20I – March 21
3rd T20I – March 23