Ladies’s squad vs South Africa: Mithali, Harmanpreet to guide

Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur will lead the ODI and T20I squads in the series against South Africa, beginning at Lucknow on March 7.

Pacer Shikha Pandey and wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia have been dropped from both squads by the Neetu David-led selection committee.

Explosive opener Shafali Verma hasn’t been included in the ODI team.

“It will be interesting to know whether skipper Mithali Raj, who herself loves to bat at the top of the order and consumes more deliveries than permissible, had at all wanted Shafali in the ODI squad,” a senior BCCI official, who sounded miffed with the move, told PTI on condition of anonymity.

“Her absence means that India lack firepower save Harmanpreet and Srmriti. We lost out on a big hitter,” he added.

The selectors, though, have included a lot of rookies based on their last season’s domestic performances as well as A and B team series against Bangladesh.

Rookie keeper-batsman Shwetha Verma, along with the seasoned Sushma Verma, are the two keepers in both formats.

Pandey’s exclusion was more to do with the selectors wanting to check out the pace bowling bench strength and rookie right-arm medium pacers C Prathyusha and Monica Patel were included in both the squads.

There is also young seamer Simran Dil Bahadur, who is part of the T20 Internationals team.

Left-arm spinner Yastika Bhatia has made way for Ekta Bisht in the 50-over squad while Veda Krishnamurthy, after a prolonged lean phase, has been dropped from both squads.

All matches will be played at Lucknow’s Bharat Ratna Shree Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana International Stadium.

The ODIs will be played between March 7-17 while the three T20 Internationals will be held from March 20-23.

Squads:

India Women’s squad for ODI series: Mithali Raj (Captain), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), D. Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Swetha Verma (wicket-keeper), Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, C. Prathyusha, Monica Patel

India Women’s T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Nuzhat Parveen (wicket-keeper), Ayushi Soni, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Mansi Joshi, Monica Patel, C. Prathyusha, Simran Dil Bahadur.

The schedule: ODIs: March 7, 9, 12, 14 and 17.

T20Is: March 20, 21 and 23.

All matches will be played at Lucknow.

(With PTI inputs)

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