Team India captain Harmanpreet Kaur has been ruled out of the first T20I between India and South Africa scheduled to take place on March 20 (Saturday) at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow. Kaur had played in the recently concluded five-match ODI series, in which India lost 4-1 to South Africa.
As per reports, Harmanpreet Kaur has suffered a hip-flexor injury while batting in the fifth ODI against the South African women on Wednesday and will be out of the action in the first game of the series. In Harmanpreet Kaur’s absence, Smriti Mandhana will lead the side in the first T20I match, in what will be their first appearance in the format since the T20 World Cup final on March 8 last year.
Smriti Mandhana to lead in Harmanpreet Kaur’s absence
Addressing the press conference, Smriti Mandhana revealed that Harmanpreet Kaur will miss the first game. However, she didn’t divulge any update on her stating that she is not the best person to speak on the topic.
“She (Harmanpreet Kaur) is out of tomorrow’s match and rest of the update on her condition will be given by the medical team. It will be better for them to speak about it rather than me,” Mandhana, a left-handed opener, said during a virtual pre-match press conference.
Meanwhile, Smriti Mandhana has led India in four T20Is. Her maiden match as India captain came in March 2019, where she filled in for an injured Harmanpreet Kaur in the three-match T20I series against a visiting England side in Guwahati. India was whitewashed by England in her maiden assignment as captain, but then later the same year, Mandhana led India to a victory over the West Indies side.
Speaking of the upcoming series, the talented batswoman said that they will like to leave the ODI series behind and focus ahead.
“We will try to forget the ODIs and focus on the T20 series. Yes, the ODI series was a disappointment but we need to forget that and move ahead. Some new faces have come in the team, so we need to think fresh. We had a discussion on how to go about our preparation, what went wrong in the ODI series and how to go forward. We now need to concentrate on the T20s. We are now looking at the ODI series as a preparation for T20 series,” said Smriri Mandhana.