The Indian women’s national team which is on a winning-spree on Tuesday (October 8) faced a major blow as opener Smriti Mandhana is ruled out of the three-match ODI series against South Africa beginning in Vadodara on Wednesday (October 9) due to an injury.
During the scheduled net practice session, the 23-year-old suffered a fracture in her right toe after being struck by a ball. The injury forced her to bow out of the series.
Seam bowling all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar has been drafter in as Mandhana’s replacement.
The team’s head coach WV Raman said that an official call on the batter’s return will be taken based on the assessment of the physios at the NCA.
“It is a mild fracture. It’s difficult to fix the timeline as she still needs to get an MRI done. There is some swelling and it has to die down for the MRI to be taken. An assessment can be made only after that, Raman said at the pre-match a press conference.
The team’s skipper Mithali Raj said Mandhana’s absence will give opportunities for other players to perform and shine.
“She (Mandhana) is an experienced player. But other players have scored a lot of runs in the domestic games. This series is not part of the ICC Women’s Championship. So that way it’s a chance for us to try out new players. And I am positive that whoever gets a chance will utilise it fully,” said the captain.
Madhana struggled to score during the recently concluded Twenty20 International series 3-1 against South Africa in Surat. She recorded 21, 13, 7 and 5 in her four innings appearances.
Playing on familiar home conditions, the Indian women would definitely have an edge over the visitors in the upcoming series.
The onus will be on veterans like Raj and Jhulan Goswami to guide the team with their experience. Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues and Veda Krishnamurthy will have to come good with the bat in the absence of Mandhana.
The Proteas will be brimming with confidence after registering a 105-run victory in the sixth and final T20.
They will be depending on opener Lizelle Lee, who scored a quick 84 in the sixth T20I, and skipper Sune Luus to take the responsibility of their batting department.
(With inputs from agencies)