Indian women's cricket team opener Smriti Mandhana will miss the One Day International (ODI) series against South Africa since she has suffered a toe fracture while training and 20-year old Pooja Vastrakar has been named as the former's replacement.
Woorkeri Raman, the head coach of the women's team, said that the extent of the injury is yet to be assessed and without deep assessment, her return to competition will not be known. He said, "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 South African women's team, which is currently touring India completed a six-match T20I series and will play a three-match ODI series starting from Wednesday, October 9. India won the T20I series against South Africa 3-1 with two matches being abandoned due to bad weather conditions. All three ODI matches will be played in Vadodra.
India will definitely have a tactical change in the approach to their game since Mandhana's replacement is not like-for-like. Vastrakar is a seam-bowling allrounder. Indian captain Mithali Raj, on the other hand, said that this will help other younger players to play and get an opportunity since it is not a part of the ICC Women's Championship. "She is an experienced player, but other players, like Priya Punia, 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."
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), recently also announced that the women's team will be touring West Indies in November. The team will be playing three ODI and five T20I matches. The team will play three ODIs in Antigua and five T20Is in St Lucia and Guyana. The team will be hoping that Mandhana is able to recover before the overseas series.