No vice-captain named for India women’s ODI series against England

Mithali Raj was retained as captain, but the five-member panel did not specify who her deputy will be in the 15-member squad – a position earlier held by Harmanpreet Kaur – for the three-match series that begins in Mumbai on February 22.

Mithali Raj has been retained as captain, but the five-member panel did not specify who her deputy will be in the 15-member squad.   -  Getty Images

India’s women’s national selection committee did not name a vice-captain while announcing the team for the One-Day International series against England on Saturday.

Mithali Raj has been retained as captain, but the five-member panel did not specify who her deputy will be in the 15-member squad – a position earlier held by Harmanpreet Kaur – for the three-match series that begins in Mumbai on February 22.

On Friday, Sportstar was first to report the possibility of a shake-up in leadership roles in the Indian women’s teams.

But Board of Control for Cricket in India officials downplayed the issue and called it a “general decision.”

“The selectors decided not to name any vice-captain for the home series. Maybe they wanted to try out various options,” one BCCI official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

After winning the ODI series in New Zealand, India trails the White Ferns 0-2 in the Twenty20 Internationals, raising the question of whether Harmanpreet, the captain in the shortest format, is feeling the pressure of the role. One of the key batswoman in the side, she has scored just 46 runs in one ODI and two T20I innings in New Zealand so far, and the selectors may have given her “breathing space” to focus on her batting against England.

Meanwhile, the selection panel, headed by Hemlata Kala, brought in stumper Kalpana Ravi in place of the injured Hemalatha Dayalan.

The selectors also picked the Board President’s XI squad, with Smriti Mandhana as skipper, that will play a one-day warm-up game in Mumbai on February 18 prior to the ODI series.

The squad for the T20 series is expected to be announced in the next few days, but there is speculation on whether Mithali Raj will be retained in the squad after being left out for the first two T20Is against New Zealand. The selectors on tour, Hemlata Kala and Shashi Gupta, may speak with her and then make a decision.

The squads:

For the ODI series: Mithali Raj (captain), Jhulan Goswami, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wicketkeeper), R. Kalpana (wicketkeeper), Mona Meshram, Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Mansi Joshi, Punam Raut.

Board President’s XI: Smriti Mandhana (captain), Veda Krishnamurthy, Devika Vaidya, S. Meghana, Bharati Fulmali, Komal Zanzad, R. Kalpana, Priya Punia, Harleen Deol, Reemalaxmi Ekka, Manali Dakshini, Minnu Mani, Tanuja Kanwar.