‘T20 specialist’ Shafali Verma could become an all-format batter in no time as the 17-year-old has been named in both the Test and ODI squads for the tour of England. Barring Verma, the selectors have also recalled Shikha Pandey and Taniya Bhatia, both of whom were controversially axed vs SA.
The number one T20 batter in the world will imminently get a taste of ODI and Test cricket as Shafali Verma has been handed a maiden ODI and Test call-up for the tour of England. Verma, 17, rather puzzlingly was overlooked for the South Africa ODIs, and earlier this week reports emerged claiming that the selectors ignored the youngster due to her ‘poor’ fielding ability. However, one day after the appointment of Ramesh Powar as head coach, good news has come Verma’s way as the right-hander has found herself in the Indian squad for all three formats.
Verma, against South Africa, was only overlooked for the ODIs but experienced seamer Shikha Pandey was axed from the tour altogether, a decision that flabbergasted many. However, Pandey too has found her way back into the squad as the 32-year-old seamer has, like Verma, been named in all three formats - T20Is, Tests and ODIs. Alongside Pandey, Taniya Bhatia is another candidate who has seen herself return to the team after being axed altogether for the South Africa tour.
The only notable omission is that of left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad, but the 29-year-old has been left out owing to her not having fully recovered from COVID-19. The tour, which comprises one Test, 3 ODIs and as many T20Is, will kick-off in Bristol on June 16, with the one-off Test match.
Test & ODI squad:Mithali Raj (capt), Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Indrani Roy (wk), Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav.
T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Indrani Roy (wk), Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Simaran Dil Bahadur.