India Women’s team have suffered a vital blow ahead of three-match ODI series against South Africa as opener Smriti Mandhana has been ruled out of the entire series. She sustained a fracture on her right toe during the training session. In her absence, all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar has been included as the replacement.
Head coach WV Raman spoke about Mandhana’s injury and mentioned that any final call will be taken after the assessment of the physio. The management will be hopeful of the batswoman retaining her fitness before the start of the West Indies tour commencing from October 14.
"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," quoted WV Raman.
India also have named Priya Punia as the reserve opening batswoman in the side. Raman stated that it is a great opportunity for Priya to prove her talent at the biggest stage. In order to assess the all-round skills of Pooja, she has been drafted in the side as Smriti’s replacement.
"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," Raman added.
"It is an opportunity for someone like Priya Punia to utilise it. It's also an opportunity for the team to give a new player a chance," mentioned captain Mithali Raj.