hafali Verma has been named in the India’s T20I squad for the first three games against South Africa starting September 24 in Surat. The national women’s selection committee has decided to include the 15-year-old cricketer on the back of her gritty knocks in the Women’s T20 challenge for Velocity earlier this year.
With Mithali Raj retiring from the shortest format of the game, the selectors wanted to try out youngsters who could bat at the top. And after dishing out consistent performances at the age-group level, Shafali broke into the big league.
“With the World T20 coming up next year, the idea was to ensure that we have a settled unit and the youngsters like Shafali are bright talents. This is a good opportunity for them,” one of the top BCCI officials, aware of the development, told Sportstar.
The selection committee meeting held at the BCCI headquarters on Thursday was attended by Mithali — who continues to lead India in the ODIs — while T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur and coach WV Raman connected via teleconference.
A big fan of Sachin Tendulkar, Shafali had scored 128 off 56 balls — third highest score in women’s T20 — for Haryana against Nagaland in the senior national T20 competition earlier this year. Apart from Shafali, Pooja Vastrakar has also been named in the T20 squad.
However, there hasn’t been any major surprises in the ODI squad.
The Indian team will conduct a preparatory camp at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru from September 12. While the initial plan was to conduct a camp in Surat, the team management decided to shift the venue to Bengaluru due to heavy rains in Gujarat.
The T20I series will be followed by three ODIs in Vadodara.
Indian Women’s ODI squad: Mithali Raj (Captain), Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Punam Raut, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Mansi Joshi, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, D Hemalatha, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Priya Punia.
Indian Women’s squad for first three T20Is: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Poonam Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Arundhati Reddy, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav, Veda Krishnamurthy, Harleen Deol, Anuja Patil, Shafali Verma, Mansi Joshi.