Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh Thakur earn maiden call-ups; uncapped Yastika Bhatia returns for Australia tour

Yastika Bhatia in action. © Yastika Bhatia/Facebook

Pace bowlers Meghna Singh and Renuka Singh Thakur have received their maiden India call-ups along with Yastika Bhatia – who was part of the India squad during the home series against South Africa in March – as BCCI named squads for the multi-format Australia tour that’s scheduled to start from September 19, on Tuesday (August 24).

Mithali Raj will continue to lead the Test and ODI squads while Harmanpreet Kaur – who missed large parts of The Hundred due to a quad injury – will return to lead the T20I side after missing the T20I leg of the South Africa series with the same injury.

While 27-year-old Singh was named in all three squads, Thakur has been named only in the T20I side. Opener Priya Punia, wicketkeeper-batter Indrani Roy, who was part of India squad during the recent England tour, have been omitted from the squads. Regular wicket-keeper Taniya Bhatia hasn’t found a place in the T20I team as Richa Ghosh is expected to continue the keeping duties. Medium pace allrounder Simran Dil Bahadur also has been omitted from the squad while Arundhati Reddy has retained her place only in the T20I squad.

Singh was one of the key members of the Railways side when they won the Senior One Day Trophy 2020-21 in April this year. She took two for 22 in the final against Jharkhand. The right-arm pacer has played 37 List A matches and 33 T20s taking 50 wickets from them. 25-year-old Thakur plays for Himachal Pradesh in the domestic circuit and has been part of India A squad that travelled to Australia in 2019. She has taken 28 wickets at an average of 24.39 in her T20 career so far.

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Southpaw Yastika also represented the India A side during the 2019 tour down under and has been part of the Challenger squads in the past.

India will start the series with three ODIs in Sydney before moving to Perth to play the day-night Test from September 30. With the border restrictions that are in place in Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fixtures and venues for the matches are likely to undergo some changes.

Test and ODI squads: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shikha Pandey, Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh, Ekta Bisht.

T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Shikha Pandey, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh (wk), Harleen Deol, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Renuka Singh Thakur.

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