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News

Shikha Pandey and Taniya Bhatia return; Shafali Verma gets maiden ODI, Test call-ups

Uncapped Indrani Roy also included while Rajeshwari Gayakwad misses out due to Covid-19

Annesha Ghosh
Annesha Ghosh
14-May-2021
Shafali Verma smashes a short ball off the front foot, India Women vs South Africa Women, 1st T20I, Lucknow, March 20, 2021

Shafali Verma has earned her first call-up to India's ODI squad  •  BCCI/UPCA

Shafali Verma, Shikha Pandey, Ekta Bisht and Taniya Bhatia have been named in the 21-member India Women squad for the upcoming seven-match tour of England. The uncapped Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batter Indrani Roy has earned her maiden international call-up, while Sneh Rana, who made the last of her 12 India appearances back in February 2016, returns to the squad.
Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad, meanwhile, has been left out. ESPNcricinfo understands she is recovering from a knee injury and also from Covid-19.
Seam-bowling allrounder Pandey, left-arm spinner Bisht, and wicketkeeper-batter Bhatia, who were left out of the squads for the ODI and T20I series at home against South Africa, have been picked for all formats, as has been Verma, who has earned her maiden call-ups to the Test and ODI squads.
Bhatia is likely to be handed the gloves for the Test, India's first assignment in the longest format in nearly seven years, while Roy could make her debut in the limited-overs leg.
Roy was the leading run-scorer in the Senior One Day Trophy 2020-21, her 456 runs - at an average of 76.00 and a strike rate of 86.52 - being the only tally in excess of 400 this year. Rana, the Railways offspin-bowling allrounder, topped the wicket charts with 18 strikes at an average of 12.66, while scoring 160 runs at a strike rate of 123.07 in the middle order.
A four-member pace contingent has been picked for the T20Is as well as for the consolidated squads for the Test and ODIs. Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar and Arundhati Reddy have been named in both squads while Simran Bahadur, who made her international debut during the South Africa series, replaced Jhulan Goswami, who retired from the shortest format in 2018, in the T20I squad.
Among the 18-member consolidated Test and ODI squad, only eight - Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Goswami, Punam Raut, Smriti Mandhana, Pandey, Poonam Yadav and Bisht - have played a Test before.
It is understood that BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah followed the virtual selection meeting on Friday that involved the five-member selection panel, led by Neetu David, and Ramesh Powar, who replaced WV Raman as the head coach on Thursday.
Sushma Verma, Sweta Verma and Nuzhat Parween, the three wicketkeepers in the limited-overs squads for the South Africa series, have been left out. From that assignment, Monica Patel, C Prathyusha, Mansi Joshi, Yastika Bhatia and D Hemalatha have also not found a place in the touring party to England.
The tour kicks off on June 16 with a one-off Test in Bristol and concludes with the third and final T20I on July 15. A three-match ODI series is also slotted in between.
Test & ODI squad: Mithali Raj (capt), Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-capt), 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 (vice-capt), 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, Simran Bahadur

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha