Double delight: Chandigarh’s Taniya to keep for both T20 and ODI teams in Sri Lanka
In a first, Chandigarh-based wicket-keeper-cum-batter Taniya Bhatia has been picked up as the wicket-keeper for both India’s ODI and T20 teams that play twin series in Sri Lanka starting September 11.
The 20-year-old replaces the seasoned Sushma Verma, who had been a regular in the Indian team since 2014, for the three-match ODI and five-match T20 series against the hosts. With this, Bhatia is set to make her ODI debut, as she had so far played only T20 matches for India.
Having got a chance to bat in just three innings with a mere three being her highest knock in 15 T20 matches, Bhatia is happy to have got the chance in the ODI team. The fact that the Bhatia batted down the batting order, limited her chances of scoring runs, restricting her to shine as a wicket-keeper.
“It is not easy to replace someone who has been playing for India for almost five years. I hope to prove my mettle in both the formats,” shared Bhatia, a student of MCM DAV College, Sector 36, who is in Chandigarh to attend her brother Sehaj’s 16th birthday.
Promoted up the order in the recently conducted T20 Challenger Trophy for Senior Women, Bhatia hammered an impressive 17-ball knock of 28 runs in the final against India Red, while playing for the Mithali Raj-led India Blue team at an individual best strike-rate of 164.71 at Karnataka’s Alur.
“Mithali didi had told me to grab the chance and showcase my batting abilities. Her words spurred me to do well. I have not got much batting chances in the past while playing for India in the T20s. So, I thought of doing my bit and score when selectors were around,” said Bhatia, who smashed three boundaries and one six in the innings, and helped India Blue claim title.
Earlier, she had played an unbeaten knock of 29 runs off 27 balls against India Green in the T20 tournament.
A student of former Indian cricketer Yograj Singh, Bhatia has been India’s T20 wicket-keeper while Sushma Verma played in the ODIs.
Having made her T20 debut against South Africa earlier this year, Bhatia was hopeful of making her ODI debut against Sri Lanka after the Challengers Trophy final ended.
After the Sri Lanka series, India will play a bi-lateral series against the West Indies ahead of the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean in November.
An attacking top-order batter when playing for Punjab and North Zone, the all-rounder has had prolific run at the domestic circuit.
“I have gained confidence since I made my T20 debut. I am looking at delivering the goods,” said Bhatia, who idolises England's Sarah Taylor and Australia’s Alyssa Healy for wicket-keeping skills.
She was part of the IPL Supernovas team led by Harmanpreet Kaur in the T20 exhibition played in Mumbai ahead of the IPL 2018 final. Kaur will lead the T20 team, while Mithali Raj will captain the ODI team in Sri Lanka.