India were dealt a big blow ahead of their Commonwealth Games opener against Australia on July 29, with allrounder Pooja Vastrakar testing positive for Covid-19. Vastrakar and opener S Meghana are currently quarantining in Bengaluru, where the women’s team went through a 10-day camp prior to their departure to the UK.
Last week, without revealing the identity of the player, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly confirmed one Covid-19 case within the Indian camp in Bengaluru. On Tuesday, an Indian Olympic Association official confirmed to PTI that Vastrakar and Meghana weren’t part of the contingent that flew out to Birmingham on Monday.

ESPNcricinfo understands both players are set to complete their isolation later this week, and will then have to pass a BCCI-mandated fitness test before they can fly out. This could all but rule them out of the first two league games. After the clash against Australia, India play Pakistan on Sunday (July 31) and Barbados on Wednesday (August 3).

A cap on the squad members being set at 15 means India haven’t been able to fly out the squad reserves to the UK. Legspinner Poonam Yadav, allrounder Simran Dil Bahadur and wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh are all training in Bengaluru, and will only fly out if required.

As things stand, the team management is keen to wait for an update on Vastrakar before summoning a replacement. The allrounder was impressive with her lower-order hitting and tight bowling during a disappointing World Cup campaign in New Zealand this March-April.

Meghana’s unavailability, meanwhile, is unlikely to upset team dynamics at the moment, given she was largely picked as a back-up in the current squad, given Smriti Mandhana is set to open with Shafali Verma, with Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur and Yastika Bhatia forming the middle order.

Women’s cricket is making its debut at the games, with all the matches set to be played at Edgbaston.