Uncapped Hemalatha called up for England ODIs

India


Uncapped 23-year-old Tamil Nadu allrounder Dayalan Hemalatha has been called up to the India women squad to face England women in a three-match ODI series at home. Middle-order batsman Devika Vaidya, who last played for India in May last year, was recalled to the squad of 15. Jhulan Goswami, who missed India’s last ODI assignment – a three-match series against Australia due to a heel injury – reclaimed her place, and left-arm spinners Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Ekta Bisht also recovered from their injuries to return to the squad.

Bisht had injured her left index finger during a caught-and-bowled attempt in the third ODI against Australia and was replaced by Gayakwad for the ongoing tri-series. But later Gayakwad injured herself in a training session in Mumbai last week and was ruled out of the series too, to be replaced by Radha Yadav.

These returns meant there was no room for Punam Raut, Mona Meshram and Sukanya Parida, who were all in the ODI squad to face Australia in Vadodara.

Hemalatha, who bowls offspin and bats right-handed, played four matches for India A recently – two T20s against England before the ongoing tri-series and two one-dayers against Australia in early March.

Vaidya, a 20-year old from Maharashtra, was part of the title-winning Indian team in the World Cup Qualifier that took place early last year in Sri Lanka. She struck 111 runs in four innings – that included a match-winning 89 in the tournament opener against the hosts – and took five wickets in six matches.

Among the exclusions, Raut once again found herself out of favour after being dropped for the final ODI against Australia. After making scores of 37 and 27 in the first two matches, Raut’s place was taken by Jemimah Rodrigues, the 17-year old batsman, who is fast becoming a sensation. Meshram, who also last played in the same Australia series, has been plagued by inconsistency since impressing at the World Cup Qualifier.

The selectors also made a slew of changes to the 14-member A squad that will face off against England in a warm-up game in Nagpur. Deepti Sharma will lead the team, taking over from Meghna Singh, who captained them for the T20 warm-ups against England.

The England ODIs will present an opportunity for India to resurrect what has been a middling home season. Though they had a hugely successful tour of South Africa, where they clinched both the T20 and one-day series, India are now on a six-match losing streak at home. After being whitewashed in the ODI series by Australia, they have now lost all their matches in the ongoing T20 tri-series so far, that leaves them without a spot in the final.

The first ODI of the week-long series takes place on April 6 and all the matches will be played in Nagpur.

India A squad: Deepti Sharma (capt), Jemimah Rodrigues, Devika Vaidya, Dayalan Hemalatha, Priya Punia, Anuja Patil, Mona Meshram, Sukanya Parida, Kavita Patil, Shanti Kumari, Tanushree Sarkar, Nuzhat Parween (wk), Radha Yadav, TP Kanwar



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