Indian women’s team stand-in coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar confirmed that vice-captain Smriti Mandhana has been ruled out of the team's T20 World Cup opener against Pakistan in Cape Town on Sunday. Mandhana is set to miss the game due to a finger injury.
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Kanitkar also confirmed that the left-hand batter doesn’t have a fracture and will likely be available for India's second game, against West Indies on February 15. While speaking in the press conference ahead of the game, the Indian coach also gave an update on captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s fitness.
At the pre-match press conference, Kanitkar said, "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. Harman is fit to play. She has batted for the last two days in the nets, she is fine."
Hrishikesh Kanitkar also spoke about the team’s attitude entering the marquee fixture as the Women in Blue don’t have the best record against Pakistan in the tournament. India lost to their arch-rivals in 2012 and 2016. But the former India batter stated that Team India is prepared for the fixture and will be aiming to replicate their success from the previous edition.
"You want to be playing the strong teams, the arch-rivals if you can call them that," Kanitkar said. "Few of them have done it in the past, few haven't. We are totally prepared for what happens, 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."
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