Team India are all set to take on South Africa in an eight-match limited-overs series in Lucknow from Sunday, March 7. While it is going to be their first international series, the announcement of the squad made the hype as a few players have been dropped and six new faces have been added to the squad as well. However, former India captain Diana Edulji is surprised that youngster Shafali Verma didn’t get the chance in the ODI squad.

After having performed brilliantly in the shortest format, including a key role in their run to the T20 World Cup final last year in Australia. But Diana Edulji, who was also a part of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators that ran the BCCI for 33 months, expressed the 17-year-old Shafali Verma can be the best opening pair alongside Smriti Mandhana and she was surprised to see her not getting a chance in the ODI squad.

Shafali is, however, a part of the T20I squad that will play three matches against South Africa as well. She said to PTI: “India would not have made the final if it wasn’t for Shafali. It made perfect sense to include her in the ODI team also. She is the best you have got alongside Smriti, so why not give her a chance?”

She continued: “Like T20s, in ODI cricket you need someone at the top to give you a flying start and not many do it better than Shafali. She is a rare talent and should be given ample chances in ODIs also.”

Shafali Verma has so far played 19 Twenty20 Internationals, scoring 487 runs at a stunning strike rate of 146.24. While a lot of questions raised over her fitness, Edulji argued that and cited there are a few other players in the team too who need to improve their fitness as well.

“She will only get better as she plays more international cricket. We must nurture a talent like her in the best way possible,” she again shared.

However, apart from Shafali Verma, pace spearhead Shikha Pandey, veteran spinner Ekta Bisht and wicketkeeper-batter Taniya Bhatia have been dropped from the squad which raised many eyebrows. But the vice-captain of the team, Harmanpreet Kaur said that it was a tough call to not pick her.

Meanwhile, Edulji added that rustiness should not be an issue for the players despite returning to international cricket after a year. “Most of them were training on their own and Railways had their camp also recently. I am glad that women’s cricket is finally happening,” she concluded.

ODI Squad: Mithali Raj (Captain), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Dayalan Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Swetha Verma (wicket-keeper), Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, Challuru Prathyusha, Monica Patel

T20I Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Nuzhat Parveen (wicket-keeper), Ayushi Soni, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Mansi Joshi, Monica Patel, C. Prathyusha, Simran Dil Bahadur

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