Which 5 Players could made their Test debut for India against South Africa in Chennai?

The Indian women’s team last played the red ball format in December 2023 against England and Australia in a home series and emerged victorious on both occasions. After a span of six months, the Indian team will be in action in the same format against the Proteas. South Africa is currently touring India for an all-format series, which started with a three-match ODI series from June 16th, held in Bengaluru. The Women in Blue whitewashed the Proteas, sealing a comprehensive series victory of 3-0 last week.

Which 5 Players could made their Test debut for India against South Africa in Chennai
Which 5 Players could made their Test debut for India against South Africa in Chennai

Both teams will now lock horns in Chennai for a one-off Test starting from June 28th to July 1st, playing against each other in Tests after almost a decade. Although this will be a different format, the momentum will be with the hosts after sweeping South Africa in the ODI series.

Since women’s Test cricket is not a regular affair, the focus will be on the new faces in India’s 17-player squad. The likes of Uma Chetry, Priya Punia, Saika Ishaque, Arundhati Reddy, and Shabnam Shakil will be the ones to watch as they prepare for the Chennai Test, with a couple of them potentially making their Test debut. With the selectors aiming to infuse fresh talent, these individuals have showcased their skills at the domestic level. Let’s go through the list of five potential players who might receive their Test cap in the match starting tomorrow:

Arundhati Reddy:

The dynamic pace bowler from Hyderabad has built a strong reputation in domestic cricket before breaking into the international stage in 2018. From 2018 to 2021, she was a regular member of India’s T20I mix before being dropped from the side. Out of the Indian team for three years, her comeback has been spirited, with her making her ODI debut in the recently concluded series, debuting in the second one-day international. She also had an impressive outing in the second edition of the WPL 2024, picking up eight wickets. She took her time to find her feet with the ball in the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy in 2023, but in the Senior Women’s One Day Trophy, her batting took off, scoring 252 runs, including three half-centuries. Considering her incredible outing in the ODI series, picking three wickets in two matches, if selected, Reddy could bring a new dimension to India’s bowling attack, combining raw pace with the ability to swing the ball both ways.

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Uma Chetry:

Uma Chetry was the first woman cricketer from Assam to make it to the Indian senior women’s team when she was selected last year for India’s tour of Bangladesh, though she unfortunately didn’t get a game. Uma was also part of the India A team which played against England in India’s home season. Although Richa Ghosh will be the first-choice keeper for the one-off Test, the Assam batter could find a spot at number three, a position India has experimented with in their last two Test matches. It will be interesting to see if she finally receives her maiden Indian cap or if the wait continues.

Priya Punia:

Priya Punia emerges as a compelling option for India at number three, having made her ODI debut against South Africa in 2019. The Delhi batter was last part of India’s side during the away series against Bangladesh before being called up for the ODI and Test squads against the Proteas. One of the primary reasons for her call-up was scoring 368 runs in the Women’s Senior One Day Trophy, averaging 52. She played in the third ODI against South Africa, looking in good touch before being dismissed for 28. Priya is known for her stability and calm demeanor, making her a reliable option for building innings. She could be a front-runner for the number three spot, having recently batted at the same position in the third ODI against the Proteas.

Saika Ishaque:

Saika Ishaque had a memorable outing in the inaugural season of the WPL, being the only Indian spinner in the top ten wicket-takers with 15 wickets in ten matches. She made her debut against England in December 2023. Saika has previously been part of India’s Test squad when the Women in Blue played against Australia and England at home, though she didn’t get a game. This time, the tables could turn in her favor given the Chepauk pitch, traditionally known for its slow, spin-friendly conditions. The conditions are likely to favor the spinners, which may tempt the Indian management to include an extra spinner alongside Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gaikwad.

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Shabnam Shakil:

Seventeen-year-old Shabnam Shakil received her maiden call-up after the second ODI for all three formats in the current all-format series. She was part of the India Under-19 team that triumphed in the inaugural ICC Women’s Under-19 World Cup in 2023. Although she was part of the inaugural season for Gujarat Giants, she only made her debut in season two, playing four matches and claiming as many wickets. In recent domestic tournaments in the 2023-24 season, Shakil demonstrated her promise. She took two wickets in the Senior Women’s Inter Zonal Multi-Day Trophy, ten wickets in the Women’s Under-19 One Day Trophy, and eight wickets in the Women’s Under-19 T20 Trophy, along with scoring 123 runs, including an unbeaten 73. In the Senior Women’s Inter Zonal One Day Trophy, she claimed three wickets and scored 112 runs, with an unbeaten 50 being her highest score. Her exceptional domestic season might prompt the management to give her a chance in the one-off Test against the Proteas.

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