In a major blow to the Indian women's cricket team, opener Smriti Mandhana has been ruled out of the ongoing three-match ODI series against South Africa due to a fractured toe which she sustained during a practice session.
Confirming the news, team head coach Woorkeri Raman said the severity of Mandhana's injury is not yet known and that her availability for the West Indies tour is also in doubt.
“The call will be taken after assessment by the physios in the NCA and we'll take it as it comes along. It's difficult to fix a timeline right away. She still needs to get an MRI done, for that the swelling has to reduce. So once that is done, an assessment will be done by the head physio at NCA,” the International Cricket Council (ICC) quoted Raman as saying.
In Mandhana's abcense, seam-bowling all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar has been called up in the national ODI squad as a replacement for injured opener for South Africa matches.
Reflecting on Vastrakar's inclusion, Raman said that the team is looking forward to try out the all-round talent already present in the squad.
"We do have a reserve opener in Priya Punia, if Smriti was fit I don't think she would have been playing. So that base is covered. And we also tried to see the kind of all-round talent that we have. That's the reason why she [Vastrakar] is being drafted in," the head coach stated.
India are currently playing a three-match ODI series against South Africa. They will head into the three ODIs and five-match T20I series against West Indies from November 1 in Antigua.