Eyebrows raised over selection of women's cricket team

Wednesday 03rd March 2021 05:38 EST

The Indian women’s cricket team will finally take the field after a year-long pandemic-induced break. They begin their return series against South Africa comprising five ODIs and three T20 Internationals starting in Lucknow on March 7. Interestingly, the BCCI decided to make the team public on Saturday, a couple of days after they headed into a bio-bubble. If that was not enough, the squads picked by the new selection committee headed by Neetu David raises more than just a few eyebrows.

The committee, which was formed in September last year, also comprises Arati Vaidya, Renu Margrate, V Kalpana and Mithu Mukherjee.

In a surprising move, all-rounder Shikha Pandey, India’s second highest wicket-taker (7 wkts; 5 matches) in the T20 World Cup in Australia last year, has been omitted from both the limited-overs series. Also, missing in the line-up is wicketkeeper Tanya Bhatia, who had a good outing Down Under. Karnataka batsman Veda Krishnamurthy, Ekta Bisht, Pooja Vastrekar and Anuja Patil have all been dropped. Teen talent Shafali Verma has been overlooked for the ODI series and features only in the T20s squad.

All-rounder Simran Dil Bahadur and Ayushi Soni from Delhi and UP wicketkeeper Swetha Verma are among the new faces in the team, which has a healthy dose of spinners. None of the members of the new committee have had a chance to watch the players as domestic cricket for women is yet to resume.

Hence, there is little to justify the omission of players like Shikha and Tanya or the inclusion of some of the rookies, who haven’t had any standout show in the previous domestic season. None of them feature among the top 15 performances during the Women's T20 challenger Trophy held in January 2020 or the league phase of the Women's Senior One Day Trophy held in February.

Squads: ODI series: 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.

Twenty 20I series: Harmanpreet (C), Smriti (VC), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti S, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sushma Verma (wk), Nuzhat Parveen (wk), Ayushi Soni, Arundhati Reddy, Radha, Rajeshwari, Poonam, Mansi, Monica, Prathyusha, Simran Dil Bahadur.

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