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Buoyed India Aim for strong start on road to World Cup

When Mithali Raj spoke to the media after India’s come-from-behind tie in the Bristol Test last week, she had a gleam in her eyes as she warned the opponents that “India’s batting goes deep now.”

Few people understand the agony of shouldering batting duty in a squad with a lengthy tail-a weakness England exploited to the hilt the last time they visited these shores, denying her team the ultimate glory.

Since then, India’s arduous search for more real all-rounders has finally come to an end with a five-year-old international ‘discard.’

Undeniable Bowling Make-Up

England’s bowling make-up, on the other hand, is undeniable. After being held off, a relentless bowling attack that put India’s relatively inexperienced batters through their paces for the majority of the Test would be wounded, and could potentially set the tone for the series as the two sides resume ODI rivalry with their eyes firmly on the prize that one currently has and the other is constantly chasing.

Team News

ENGLAND

Dunkley, England’s first black woman to play a Test match, is set to make her ODI debut, while veteran white-ball specialist Danni Wyatt has been snubbed for the three-match series despite a hat-trick of fifties in the RHF. Georgia Elwiss, a batting allrounder, was also left out of the Test team. Sarah Glenn and Freya Davies, who was cut from the team before the Test, have returned.

Squad:

Heather Knight (C), Emily Arlott, Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones (wk), Nat Sciver (VC), Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield-Hill

INDIA

Her back-to-back half-centuries on Test debut have put an end to the ‘will she, won’t she’ debate, and Shafali Verma is all but certain to make her ODI debut for the visitors after being overlooked in March. If that happens, incumbent openers Punia and Rodrigues will be in a three-way race for the third position.

Rodrigues’ advantage is her drop-and-run game, which might keep the scoreboard ticking. Changes could be made in the bowling department as well, with it becoming increasingly difficult to keep an in-form real all-rounder like Rana on the bench. Is this to suggest that India may drop seam-bowling allrounder Pooja Vastrakar? The situation would dictate.

Squad:

Mithali Raj (C), Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur (VC), Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Indrani Roy (wk), Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav

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