Smriti Mandhana to miss first ODI against West Indies

A recovering Smriti Mandhana, who underwent a rehab session at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru recently is yet to join the team in the West Indies.

Smriti Mandhana had fractured her right toe during the home series against South Africa.   -  G. P. SAMPATH KUMAR

India women’s cricket team will miss the services of its batting mainstay, Smriti Mandhana, when it takes on the West Indies in the first ODI in Antigua on Friday.

Smriti, who fractured her right toe during the home series against South Africa a couple of weeks ago, underwent a rehab session at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru recently and is yet to travel to the Caribbeans. Though top officials at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have told Sportstar that the batting ace is scheduled to fly to the West Indies ‘by Friday’, to which there is no clarity.

“She will not be available for the first ODI. But she will travel to the West Indies tonight (Thursday) or by Friday,” one of the officials said. India will be playing its second ODI on Sunday (November 3) and the official could not specify whether Smriti will be available for the second fixture either.

With the chairman of the national selection committee, Hemalata Kala, touring with the team, it could not be confirmed whether Smriti will be drafted into the side straightaway for the T20I series, which begins on November 9.

While all the other members of the ODI team left for West Indies in two batches last week, Smriti was busy at the NCA with the rehabilitation programmes. A few days ago, she even posted pictures from her rehabilitation programme on social media, indicating that she was slowly returning back into action.

In the home series against South Africa, Smriti was replaced by Pooja Vastrakar. The youngster had a ordinary outing in the T20Is against South Africa — which were held in Surat in September — scoring just 46 runs in four innings.

India plays three ODIs and five T20Is in the West Indies and it needs to be seen whether Smriti actually features in the ODI series.