In a big blow to the Indian Women’s Team ahead of the Women’s 20-20 World Cup, Vice-Captain Smriti Mandhana has been ruled out of the first game against Pakistan. India’s opening encounter of the tournament is scheduled on February 12 against arch-rival Pakistan at Newlands, Cape Town.
According to Indian Team Management Mandhana had injured her middle finger of the left hand while fielding against Australia in a Warm-up match. Although, it is not fractured and she is being monitored by the medical team. Hrishikesh Kanitkar, the stand-in coach, has confirmed that Mandhana is likely to be available from India’s second game which is against West Indies on February 15.
“Smriti has a finger injury and is still recovering, so she won’t play most-likely. It’s not a fracture and we’re hopeful she will be available from the second game onwards”, said Kanitkar during a pre-match press conference. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s fitness is also a concern for Women in Blue as the skipper injured her shoulder during the finals of the Tri-Series against South Africa last week. Speaking about Harman’s fitness Kanitkar said, “Harman is fit to play. She has batted for the last two days in the nets, she is fine.”
India will take on arch-rival Pakistan in the first game
Indian Women’s team will start their World Cup campaign on February 12 against Arch-rival Pakistan. India who is looking to build on their runners-up finish at the previous edition in Australia in 2020 will try to start their campaign on a winning note. Unlike India’s Men’s team, Women’s team doesn’t enjoy good records against Pakistan.
India hasn’t enjoyed the best of records against Pakistan in the tournament as they lost to them in 2012 and 2016. Although, Coach Kanitkar emphasized the group’s camaraderie and spirit, which he thought is at its best ahead of the 2023 edition.
“You want to be playing the strong teams, the arch-rivals if you can call them that. Few of them have done it in the past, few haven’t. We are prepared for what happens, and the atmosphere is good. Most of them have played Pakistan in the past, they know what can happen and what the atmosphere is like. One of the privileges of playing international cricket is you play matches like these. Everyone is looking forward to it”, said Kantikar.
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