ODI debut for 23-year-old Priya Punia on the cards

After India’s ace batter Smriti Mandhana was ruled out of the ODI series against South Africa, there are chances that newcomer Priya Punia can make her debut in the ODI format. Mandhana, who suffered a toe injury in a practice session ahead of the first ODI, was ruled out of the entire series, rendering the opening slot of India’s batting order open.

ODI Debut for Priya Punia
Priya Punia

In the T20I format, 15-year-old Shafali Verma was given the opportunity to open the innings with Smriti Mandhana in the T20I series against South Africa that just concluded last week.

Priya Punia has been named in the ODI squad that has been selected for the South Africa series and there is a possibility that in the absence of Smriti, she can be given the opportunity to open.

Priya Punia had been given the opportunity to play in all the T20Is of the series when India had toured New Zealand in February earlier this year. Though she could not perform up to the mark in her debut series, she was selected in the Indian squad for the ODI series against South Africa.

Priya Punia represented team Supernovas in this year’s Women’s T20 Challenge wherein she played with the likes of Harmanpreet Kaur, Chamari Athapaththu, Natalie Sciver and Sophie Devine. Punia had scored 29 runs in their final match against Velocity which Supernovas had won by 4 wickets. Priya had also scored 16 runs and 1 run in the earlier two matches of Supernovas in the league.

Pace bowling all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar has been named as the replacement for Smriti Mandhana in the series. India will play 3 matches against South Africa in the ODI series from 9th to 14th October. All the matches will be played in Baroda.

India’s squad for the ODI series against South Africa:

Mithali Raj (captain), Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wicketkeeper), Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Mansi Joshi, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Da Hemalatha, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Priya Punia, Pooja Vastrakar

South Africa Squad for 3 ODI Matches

Sune Luus (captain), Tasmin Brits, Trisha Chetty, Nadine de Klerk, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Lara Goodall, Marizanne Kapp, Lizelle Lee, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukhune, Nondumiso Shangase, Mignon du Preez, Laura Wolvaardt.