Vastrakar and Rana out of India squad for Australia T20Is

Cricket

Allrounders Pooja Vastrakar and Sneh Rana will miss the five-match T20I series against Australia at home starting December 10. While the BCCI release announcing the squad said Vastrakar was unavailable due to an unspecified injury, it gave no reason for Rana’s absence.

There was also a maiden national call-up for the Railways left-arm seamer Anjali Sarvani, who was the leading wicket-taker in the Inter-State Women’s T20s, with 17 wickets at an average of 5.70 and an economy rate of 3.34, and the joint-leading wicket-taker in the Inter-Zonal T20s, with 10 wickets at 10.80 and 4.50.

Also forcing her way back into national contention eight years after she played her only T20I was allrounder Devika Vaidya. The 25-year-old had earlier been part of the national squad for the T20 World Cup in 2018 but didn’t get a game. She most recently played for India during a home ODI series against England in April 2018.

Vaidya is primarily a batter but gives the team some flexibility with her ability to chip in with legspin. In the Inter-State T20s, she scored 130 runs in five innings at an average of 32.50 and a strike rate of 109.24, apart from picking up six wickets.

With India seemingly continuing to focus on grooming young fast bowlers, Shikha Pandey misses out despite a strong display in the Inter-State T20s, where she picked up 11 wickets at an average of 10.90 and an economy rate of 4.28. The pace attack will be spearheaded by Renuka Thakur, who will have Meghna Singh and Sarvani for company.

With Rana absent, in all likelihood due to a niggle – she picked up seven wickets in six games during the Women’s Asia Cup, India’s most recent T20I assignment – the squad contains three spin-bowling regulars – allrounders Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav as well as left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad.

Yastika Bhatia will in all likelihood be the back-up wicketkeeper to Richa Ghosh. Batters D Hemalatha and Kiran Navgire, who featured during the Asia Cup, have been left out.

Monika Patel, Arundhati Reddy, SB Pokharkar and Simran Bahadur have been called up as net bowlers.

The five-match series beginning December 10 will be played entirely in Mumbai. The DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai will host the first two games, before the series shifts to the Brabourne Stadium, a venue where Australia lifted the 50-overs World Cup in 2013.

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