Renuka Singh returns from injury, Saika Ishaque and Shreyanka Patil get maiden call-ups for England T20Is

Renuka Singh has made a comeback from a stress injury, while WPL breakout stars Shreyanka Patil and Saika Ishaque have earned maiden T20I call-ups for the three-match series against England beginning December 6 in Mumbai. There was also a maiden call-up for Karnataka’s 24-year-old left-handed batter Satheesh Shubha.

Renuka and Ishaque are also in line to make their Test debuts later in the month alongside Jemimah Rodrigues, after being named in the Harmanpreet Kaur-led 15-member squad for two back-to-back games against England and Australia.

India will be playing a home Test for the first time since November 2014. Since then, they’ve featured in just two Tests (one each in England and Australia). The upcoming games will mark a change of guard in many ways, given it will be India’s first Test outing in over 20 years without retired stalwarts Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami. This will also be the first time that Harmanpreet will lead India in a Test match.

Patil was one of the bright stars for Royal Challengers Bangalore during an otherwise dismal maiden WPL campaign for the team. Earlier this year, she also became the first Indian to play in the women’s CPL where she was the tournament’s top wicket-taker while representing Guyana Amazon Warriors. Patil is currently part of the India A squad for the three-match T20 series against England A.

Meanwhile, Ishaque, the left-arm spinner, was a key figure for Mumbai Indians during their spectacular run to the inaugural WPL title in March. Ishaque was the tournament’s joint second-highest wicket-taker with 15 scalps, with her ability to bowl across phases earning plaudits.

Ishaque’s inclusion in the T20Is leaves no room in the squad for experienced left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad, while Patil’s call-up has led to Devika Vaidya being dropped.

In addition to Patil, Ishaque and Deepti Sharma, India also have a fourth spin option in the form of left-arm fingerspinner Mannat Kashyap, who was part of India’s Under-19 World Cup winning squad earlier this year. Kanika Ahuja, who like Patil impressed for RCB in the WPL, retains her place in the T20I squad.
Yastika Bhatia was handed a comeback as one of two wicketkeeping options alongside Richa Ghosh. Bhatia was dropped from the Asian Games squad that returned with a gold medal from Hangzhou in October. Her inclusion meant there was no place for rookie wicketkeeper Uma Chetry.

The selectors have also opted to overhaul the pace stocks for the Tests. With Goswami having retired and Shikha Pandey left out, Renuka will lead a four-member attack consisting of Titas Sadhu, Meghna Singh and allrounder Pooja Vastrakar. Also returning for the Tests is Sneh Rana, the offspinning allrounder.

The upcoming home series marks the beginning of a long stretch of games for the Indian women’s team leading into next year’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh. After the three T20Is and Test against England, India are slated to play Australia in a Test, followed by six white-ball matches.

The upcoming series marks the first assignment as head coach for Amol Muzumdar, the former Mumbai captain, who takes over from Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who had helmed the team in an interim capacity.

India Women’s squad for England T20Is: Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Smriti Mandhana (vice-capt), Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Richa Ghosh (wk), Amanjot Kaur, Shreyanka Patil, Mannat Kashyap, Saika Ishaque, Renuka Singh, Titas Sadhu, Pooja Vastrakar, Kanika Ahuja, Minnu Mani

India Women’s squad for England and Australia Tests: Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Smriti Mandhana (vice-capt), Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Richa Ghosh (wk), Sneh Rana, Shubha Satheesh, Harleen Deol, Saika Ishaque, Renuka Singh, Titas Sadhu, Meghna Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar

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