Vadodara: India eves were dealt a big blow on the eve of their first one-dayer against South Africa when star batswoman Smriti Mandhana was ruled out of the ODI series with an injury.
Mandhana, 23, suffered a fracture in her right toe after being struck by a ball during a net session on Sunday. All-rounder Pooja Vastrakar has been pencilled in as her replacement.
Head coach W.V. Raman said a call on Mandhana’s return will be taken based on the assessment of the physios at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.
“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.
Captain Mithali Raj opined that Mandhana’s absence will give opportunities for other players to rise to the occasion. “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.”
India will clash with the South Africa women in the three-match ODI series beginning here on Wednesday.