Why is Smriti Mandhana not playing match against Pakistan?

In a massive setback for Team India ahead of iconic India versus Pakistan game on 12th February, star India batter Smriti Mandhana has been ruled out of the game with a finger injury. Although Hrishikesh Kanitkar, the stand-in coach for India, has confirmed that there is no fracture, it is being suggested that she will be back for the second game for India in the group stage versus the West Indies.

Smriti Mandhana. PC: Getty Images
Smriti Mandhana. PC: Getty Images

To add more to the injury scare was how there was news on Harmanpreet Kaur picking up a shoulder niggle during the just concluded tri-series featuring West Indies and South Africa, which also saw her not playing the warm-up games, but she has been declared fit to play in welcome news ahead of this key encounter.

At the pre-match press conference, Kanitkar was quoted saying, “Harman is fit to play. She has batted for the last two days in the nets; she is fine. 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.”

It is speculated that Smriti Mandhana picked up the injury in one of the warm-up matches, and India will dearly miss her services in this crucial match. In the warm-up match versus Australia, she batted at #3 instead of her opening slot and lasted for three balls only before she missed the second warm-up against Bangladesh.

In her absence, it will be interesting to see the combination that India will opt for. Perhaps, they will have Jemimah Rodrigues open the batting with Shafali Verma and have skipper Harmapreet Kaur come in at 3 or get Harleen Deol early on, and with Richa Ghosh also joining the team, India’s batting seems strong, and spinners have always been India’s strengths so they’ll be looking to make the most of the conditions. Although India looks like favourites to win the game, they will have to put up a good batting performance, as any blip could mean Pakistan repeating their Asia Cup upset.

I am a first year postgraduate student pursuing a MA in Media and Communication Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. I am a podcaster, blogger and an avid cricket fan. When not glued to cricket matches, you can find me submerged in books and thinking about cricket all the time.

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