Team India were dealt a major blow in their preparations for the ODI series against Australia as Harmanpreet Kaur was ruled out due to a thumb injury. Head coach Ramesh Powar confirmed the news in his pre-series press conference. The tour marks the first time India Women will take on Australia, since their World Cup final defeat in 2020.
Harmanpreet Kaur, India’s middle-order talisman, has been ruled out of the first ODI against Australia Women. “Harmanpreet Kaur was deemed fit and hence she was selected for this tour, but unfortunately some days back she got a hit on the thumb so she is not available for the first ODI. The next ODI, we will take a call according to her pain and fitness management. Shikha Pandey is fit and fine, she is available for selection,” said Powar during a virtual press conference.
JUST IN: Harmanpreet Kaur got a hit on the thumb a few days ago and is not available for the first ODI – India head coach Ramesh Powar@ESPNcricinfo
— Annesha Ghosh (@ghosh_annesha) September 20, 2021
“As a batting unit, we want to score above 250 consistently. Bowling we are trying to bowl out the opponents so we are trying to use Jhulan upfront so that she can give us breakthroughs. We expect the senior players to guide youngsters which they are doing,” he added.
India and Australia will be locking horns in a multi-format series, comprising three ODIs, one-off day-night Test, and three T20Is. The first ODI will be played on September 21. It was at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017 that India had knocked the tournament favourites out in the semifinals. It was a loss delivered on the back of Harmanpreet Kaur’s unbeaten 171 off 115.
Four years on from that loss, Australia are the favourites going into another Cricket World Cup and have been playing at levels of consistency not seen in the game’s history. Since that semifinal loss to India, they have only lost one ODI, winning in their past 24 matches in the format. It’s in that same format that they will meet here in Queensland this week, before D/N Test and T20I legs.