The much-awaited India-Australia series is just a week away and the riveting contest will see the two teams locking horns against each other in a multi-format affair that will include three ODIs, a pink-ball Test, and three T20Is.
Schedule: India Women’s tour of Australia 2021
|September 21, 2021||5.35 am||1st ODI||
Harrup Park, Mackay
|September 24, 2021||8.45 am||2nd ODI|
|September 26, 2021||5.35 am||3rd ODI|
|September 30 – October 3, 2021||11.30 am||One-off Test||
Carrara Oval, Queensland
|October 7, 2021||2.10 pm||1st T20I|
|October 9, 2021||1.40 pm||2nd T20I|
|October 10, 2021||1.40 pm||3rd T20I|
To discuss the Indian squad and the upcoming Australia series, Female Cricket Live had Aarti Sankaran and Sharadha Sridharan on the show.
Three new players made their way into the Indian squad for the Australia series. Yastika Bhatia, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh Thakur replaced Priya Punia, Indrani Roy and Simran Dil Bahadur, who were a part of the recently concluded England series.
Views on India’s Squad selected for the Australia Women’s tour 2021
Aarti said, “It is surprising to see these changes being made. Though I am happy for the players that made it to the squad, it is unfortunate for someone like Indrani, Priya, and Simran to miss out. In the England series, they were not given a chance, so the reason for dropping them is unclear. Also, like to like replacements have not been made. The selection committee has substituted one batter, one wicket-keeper bat and one bowler with one batter and two bowlers.”
Sharadha added, “It is important for the team management to back the players. Indrani, Priya, and Simran could have been tried in a dead rubber against England. But that didn’t happen and now they are out of the squad without any rhyme and reason.”
Views on the constant chop-and-change policy in the Indian Women’s Cricket Team
Chopping and changing seem to be a new normal for the Indian team. In the South Africa series, there were players like C Prathyusha and Monica Singh, who were dropped for the England series, then in the England series, there was Indrani Roy, Priya Punia, and Simran Dil Bahadur, who were dropped for the Australia series. With the World Cup less than six months away, constant changes will do no good to India’s chances in the coveted tournament that will be played in New Zealand from March 4, 2022.
Commenting on the selections, Aarti said, “Yastika Bhatia has come through India A ranks, however, Priya Punia and Simran Dil Bahadur came directly into India. If performance at India A level is the criteria then why are Devika Vaidya, Minnu Mani, and Anjali Sarvani missing from the Indian squad? They have done well for India A. There seem to be no well-defined measures that warrant an India call.”
Views on Mansi Joshi and Veda Krishnamurthy’s absence from India Squad
Some of the other players that have not been considered are Mansi Joshi and Veda Krishnamurthy. With regards to Veda Krishnamurthy, Sharadha said, “I am surprised not to see her again. In the early part of 2020, when India A toured Australia, Veda led the side and also went on to become the leading run-getter. She also hit one century against Australia A. After that she had a decent outing in the World T20 but since then she was not considered for the South Africa series, which was played early in this year, the England series, and now the Australia series. Given that the Indian middle order is not in its best of forms, having someone like Veda, who has a lot of experience could have done a world of good. She is not only a good finisher but also an excellent fielder. With the World Cup in mind, it is important that players like Veda are given the chance.”
With respect to Mansi Joshi, Aarti said, “Mansi has not been that consistent. She did not have a great run in the South Africa series. I feel that as long as Shikha and Jhulan are around if India is ever looking to play the third pacer it will be a toss-up between Pooja Vastrakar and Arundhati Reddy because of their all-round ability.”
Views on India’s first-ever pink ball Test Match
During the Australia series, India will play their first pink-ball Test. Aarti said, “It will be interesting to see how the players take up this challenge. It will be important for the players to go out there with open minds. There is no doubt that it will be challenging for both teams given the limited exposure that they have had to the pink ball. We all saw that men also found it difficult. It will be intriguing to see how women fare in the day-night Test.”
On Team India’s Probable Squad for Women’s World Cup 2022
After the Australia series, with no other international series on the cards for the Indian team, the team selection for the World Cup, to a large extent, will depend on this tour.
Aarti said, “At this moment, it is very difficult to predict the Indian squad for the World Cup. While we have some good batters in the ranks, the bowling department to some extent has issues. For instance, we have only one leg spinner in Poonam Yadav. Though we have three left-arm spinners, a good leg spinner in the team is always a luxury to have. We have Poonam but it is necessary that we have atleast one more in the squad going into the World Cup.”
Sharadha added, “Poonam Yadav, our only leg spinner, does not have an impressive performance in New Zealand. She was taken to all corners of the park in her previous outing. Given that she is slow in the air and off the pitch, the batters get enough time to rock back on the back foot and pull her or employ the slog sweep against her. New Zealand also has smaller boundaries which goes against her. It is important that we have another leg spinner, alongside Poonam in the squad for the World Cup.”
The Indian middle-order which has come into the limelight off late was also during the show. While the opening pair of Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma looks good, the middle order conundrum continues for the Women in Blue. Sharadha concluded, “I feel Mithali Raj should bat at number 3 and Harman at number 4. We can have Deepti at number 5 and Pooja Vastrakar or Sneh Rana at number 6. Taniya Bhatia can play either at 6 or 7. Our best batters should get the maximum balls so it is essential that they bat higher in the order.”
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.