Neetu David, one of India’s finest woman cricketers in the late ’90s and early 2000, has emerged as a strong contender to become chief of BCCI’s women’s national selection panel. The four-year term of the previous panel, led by Hemlata Kala, ended in March 2020. It had Sudha Shah, Anjali Pendharkar, Shashi Gupta and Lopamudra Banerjee as other members.
Their last assignment was selecting the team for the women’s T20 World Cup in Australia, where India ended runners-up.
The BCCI didn’t name a new selection panel, inviting criticism from a lot of quarters, but the rationale behind the delay was absence of any cricketing activity due to the COVID-19 related lockdown.
The India’s women’s cricket will now get back to action with the three-team Women’s Challenger Series in the UAE and for that BCCI first needs to form a new women’s selection panel.
There were a lot of applications but it has been learnt that former left-arm spinner David, who was India’s highest wicket-taker in Women’s ODIs before Jhulan Goswami surpassed her, is a top contender. She took 141 wickets in 97 games.
Her figures of 8/53 are the best by an Indian woman in Test matches. David played 10 Tests in which she had 41 victims. She retired from international cricket in 2008.
“Neetu is a big name in Indian women’s cricket and has the stature. I don’t think anyone can question Neetu’s credentials to become head of selection panel,” a senior BCCI source told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
From among those, who have applied to be selection committee members, former Maharashtra left-handed batswoman Arati Vaidya, who played 3 Tests and 6 ODIs between mid to late ’90s, is a contender from West Zone.
From the East Zone, Mithu Mukherjee’s name is doing rounds. She was part of the previous panel and didn’t complete her full term. She still has at least two years left in her tenure.
“It’ true that Mithu has been sounded out but it’s not known whether she would finally get the assignment. There aren’t too many names from the East Zone,” the source said.
A strong candidate from the Central Zone is Renu Margrate, a medium pacer, who played for India in five Tests and 23 ODIs in the late ’90s. The 45 year-old Margaret represented Indian Railways in the national tournaments.
The fifth candidate in the panel could be 59-year-old Venkatacher Kalpana, who played three Test and 8 ODIs between 1986 and 1991 as a wicketkeeper-batter.
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