Veda Krishnamurthy has been dropped from both the One-Day International and Twenty20 International squad for the tour of New Zealand. India will be travelling to New Zealand in late January next year to play three ICC Women’s Championship ODIs and as many T20Is. The other big development is that after all the controversy surrounding Mithali Raj’s exclusion from the XI that lost the World Twenty20 semifinal against England in Antigua last month, she retains her place.
Shikha Pandey made a comeback into the T20I squad, while Mona Meshram replaced Veda in the ODI team. Priya Punia, who scored two centuries for Delhi in the ongoing inter-state 50-over competition, is the only new face in the T20I squad. The Hemlata Kala-led selection committee met in New Delhi on Friday (December 21) a day after WV Raman being appointed as the new coach of the team.
Punia first broke into the national scheme of things when she was a part of the India A squad that took on the visiting New Zealand side in Bangalore in 2015. Since then she has been in the radar of the selectors, but was overtaken by Jemimah Rodrigues earlier this year after failing to make an impact in the Challenger Trophy in Indore in January. The 22-year-old is currently fourth on the list of highest run-getter in the inter-state 50-over competition.
Pandey’s comeback was expected after Pooja Vastrakar, who is currently healing from a knee surgery, got herself injured during the warm-up game in the Caribbean. At that time the selectors had replaced Vastrakar with Devika Vaidya, the middle-order batter and legspinner from Maharashtra, but she did not play all the games in the domestic 50-over competition because of illness.
Veda has been out of form for a while now. Except for her twin fifties in the ODI series in South Africa earlier this year, she has not been able to put up a consistent show. She showed signs of returning to form in the domestic circuit with a knock of 80 for Railways, but that has clearly not impressed the selectors.
Smriti Mandhana, Mithali, Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues form the batting core in the ODIs, while Taniya Bhatia, the sole wicketkeeper in both the squads, will be expected to step up.
Interestingly Radha Yadav, the left-arm spinner who has 19 wickets in the 50-over competition including a four-wicket haul in the last league game against Karnataka that helped Baroda qualify for the quarterfinals, does not find a place in the ODI squad. Her tally is more than Poonam Yadav (15), Ekta Bisht (14) and Rajeshwari Gayakwad (14) – all Railways players.
India’s first ODI is on Janaury 24.
ODI Squad: Mithali Raj (capt), Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wk), D Hemalatha, Mona Meshram, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Shikha Pandey.
T20I Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Anuja Patil, D Hemalatha, Mansi Joshi, Shikha Pandey, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Priya Punia.