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Update Yastika Bhatia, Sweta Verma earn call-ups for South Africa ODIs
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[Image: shikha-pandey-indias-second.jpg]

Yastika Bhatia, the left-handed batter from Baroda, and 'keeper Sweta Verma from Mumbai have earned maiden call-ups to the India Women side for the five-match ODI series against South Africa. The 18-member squad also sees the return of Sushma Verma, who last played an ODI in 2018 and a T20I in 2016. Uncapped all-rounder Challuru Prathyusha and left-arm pacer Monica Patel have also been included in the side with Mansi Joshi also making a return.

Curiously, Shikha Pandey, India's second-highest wicket-taker at last year's T20 World Cup has been left out of both squads. Taniya Bhatia, who kept wickets in that tournament, and Veda Krisnamurthy too miss out from both the ODI and T20I squads.

While keeper-bat Sushma Verma features in both the squads, Nuzhat Parveen has been named as the second 'keeper in the T20I side. Ayushi Soni, Prathyusha and Simran Dil Bahadur find a spot in the T20I squad, which will be led by Harmanpreet Kaur.

South Africa are scheduled to play five ODIs and three T20Is in Lucknow starting from March 7. The series had hit a venue roadblock and was originally scheduled to be hosted in Thiruvananthapuram. The Kerala Cricket Association, however, declined to host the tournament because of logistical challenges.

The ODI series will run from March 7 to 17 and the three T20Is will be played on March 20, 21 and 23 respectively. This will be the first international series India Women will be playing after the final of the T20 World Cup in March last year with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the scheduling.

ODI squad: Mithali Raj ©, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur, D Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wk), Swetha Verma (wk), Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, C Prathyusha, Monica Patel.

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

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