Neetu David to head new Women's Selection Committee

Neetu David will head the new five-member All India Women's Selection Committee. The appointments come six months after the previous panel's term expired.

Neetu David (File photo)   -  Getty Images

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday named Neetu David as the chairman of the women’s national selection panel. She will be joined by four other former India internationals - Arati Vaidya, Renu Margrate, Venkatacher Kalpana and Mithu Mukherjee.

The applications were invited in January this year after all the members of the previous committee - headed by Hemalatha Kala - completed their terms. However, the pandemic delayed the entire selection process. It has been learnt that around 38 candidates had applied for the five vacant positions, and the candidates were chosen on the basis of their seniority and experience.

For the last seven months, cricketing activities have come to a standstill in the country and there is no clarity on whether there will be any domestic season.

PODCAST: Impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Indian domestic cricket

However, Neetu - who has been named as the head of the panel on the account of seniority - is optimistic. “Our target will be to keep the momentum going and focus on the overall development of women’s cricket in the country. We will try to give enough opportunities to the deserving candidates and also ensure that younger talents are encouraged,” Neetu told Sportstar.

A former left-arm spinner, Neetu holds the world record for best bowling figures in an innings in a Test - 8/53 against England Women in Jamshedpur in 1995. She is also the second-highest wicket-taker for India in women’s ODIs with 141 scalps and was also the first from India to take 100 ODI wickets.

She is also happy with the way the Indian team has fared in the T20s. “The team has done really well in the T20s, so we would like to maintain a similar track record in the ODIs as well. We will also speak to the Board and see if there could be Test cricket as well. The idea is to ensure that we walk in the right direction,” Neetu said.

While Neetu (central zone) featured in 10 Tests and 97 ODIs, her colleagues too come with a lot of experience. Arati Vaidya (west zone) has featured in three Tests and six ODIs, while Renu Margrate (north zone) has donned the whites in five Tests and has played in 23 ODIs. The seasoned Venkatacher Kalpana (south zone), too, has played three Tests and eight ODIs, while Mithu Mukherjee (east zone) has played in four Tests.

“I have played with all of them and some are a bit senior too me. So that will be of great help and once we hear the BCCI guidelines, we will plan things out. The COVID-19 has affected the cricketers and we will try and ensure that they return to action soon. The players will have our complete support,” Neetu said.

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Over the next few weeks, Neetu plans to have a word with Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur - India captains in the ODIs and T20s respectively - to come up with a plan for the future. “We will talk to everyone and understand how things are. The more you talk to the people, the more information you get. And, that will help the selection panel in the longer run. We are open to suggestions,” Neetu said.

While there is no clarity on whether India’s women’s team will have any international assignments soon, the top players will feature in the Women’s T20 Challenge in the United Arab Emirates from November 1-10.

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