Devika Vaidya got emotional when she was informed that she had been selected for the India women’s team for a five-match T20 series against Australia to be played in Mumbai next week.
There were two reasons for the Pune girl’s reaction. Firstly, she made her comeback in the Indian T20 team after an eight-year hiatus and secondly, she couldn’t help but think of her late mother Maushami, who passed away from cardiac arrest in 2019.
“She would have been very happy to know about my selection for the Indian team. I have been working hard on my all-round skills over the last two years and executing my plans well,” added 25-year-old Vaidya, who last played a T20I for India in 2014 against South Africa and played her only ODI for India in 2018 against England. Although she was part of the Indian World T20 team in 2018, she did not get a match.
Vaidya was so distressed by her mother’s death that she lost her focus on the sport and she came very close to quitting the sport as the pandemic followed soon after but it was her maternal grandparents and father who motivated her to to start again.
A leg spinner and useful batsman, Vaidya was determined to do well and get back in the Indian team as the BCCI planned to hold domestic matches during the pandemic.
“I went into a shell after my mother passed away. I was not ready for this loss. But then my family and friends encouraged me to start over and do it for my late mother. So I pushed hard and gave everything to get back in shape. I now have this chance and now I have to make it count,” said Vaidya who scored 130 runs in five innings at an average of 32.50 and a strike rate of 109.24, apart from picking up six wickets in the interstate T20 tournament. and then followed it up with a fine showing in interzonal play for the West Zone.
Vaidya will be a good leg spin option for India as the out of shape Poonam Yadav is not in the team.
India has designated a 15-man squad for the upcoming five-match T20Is, which begin on December 9.
Uncapped left arm bowler Anjali Sarvani has been named in the squad to be led by India’s regular skipper Harmanpreet Kaur with Smriti Mandhana as her deputy.
Notable absent from the squad is Pooja Vastrakar, who was ruled out due to injury and subsequently ineligible for selection, while Sneh Rana, D Hemalatha and Kiran Navgire, who were all part of the Asia Cup that India won in October, are also missing some names on the team.
With the 2023 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup fast approaching, the five match assignment will be crucial for both India and Australia in finding the right combination for the mega-tournament.
Wicket-keeper Yastika Bhatia, who was not part of the Asia Cup, returns to the squad. India has also named four net bowlers along with the main squad.
Both sides will play the first two matches at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai before the action moves to Brabourne Stadium.
Selection: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Renuka Singh Thakur, Meghna Singh, Anjali Sarvani, Devika Vaidya, S Meghana, Richa Ghosh (wk ), Harleen Deol.
Just bowlers – Monika Patel, Arundhati Reddy, S B Pokharkar, Simran Bahadur