It has emerged that there are several issues of friction between the senior players, selectors and former coaches, leading to heated exchanges in recent times. Things have become so unpleasant of late that the BCCI decided to oversee the selection process for picking the team for next month’s tour of England which includes one-off Test, three T20Is and three ODIs. There was intense discussion over including young girls in longer formats of the game and after much drama through the day, the squad was announced.
Shafali Verma, Shikha Pandey and Taniya Bhatia – who were dropped in the last ODI series against South Africa – all have been included in the Test and ODI squad.
BCCI is focusing on building a strong pool of players which can carry the team for years to come. However, the last team that was picked by the selection committee for the home series has drawn the ire of a lot of stakeholders in women’s cricket.
WV Raman, who was replaced as coach on Thursday, has written to president Sourav Ganguly and NCA cricket head Rahul Dravid about the persisting “prima donna culture” in Indian women’s cricket. According to sources, some former women cricketers and senior players have been wielding their power in the system while the selectors have lacked vision.
Dropping the prolific Shafali from the ODI squad and Shikha Pandey from the entire series against South Africa at home in March has not gone down well with the board.
“The selectors went by hearsay that Shikha lacked fitness and Shafali needed rest for ODIs. One couldn’t understand how they could come to that conclusion when the girls played nothing but a few Women’s T20 Challenge matches in a year,” a senior BCCI official told TOI.
The selectors also ignored hard-hitting batter Richa Ghosh for the ODI team. They also had reservations against Priya Punia. “There is a line of thought that Shafali and Richa are only good for T20Is. If these young players are not blooded in the longer format, how are they going to grow? The selectors need to think of life beyond the likes of Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami,” the official said.
“There is an ODI World Cup coming in February next. The likes of Shafali and Richa need to be given enough experience in the longer format. They are impact players. They can add those extra 30 runs to the totals,” the official added.
Squad for Test & ODIs: Mithali Raj (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Indrani Roy (wicket-keeper), Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav.
Squad for T20Is: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain) Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Indrani Roy (wicket-keeper), Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Simaran Dil Bahadur.