New Delhi: A serious injury had left Poonam Yadav's index finger in tatters as her colleagues braced up for the T20 World Cup. But, instead of giving up, she quickly got a plate inserted, won her race against time, and foxed the Australians with a match-winning spell in the tournament opener.
The 28-year-old from Agra had her left index finger crushed during a training session at the National Cricket Academy on December 26, leaving India's go-to spinner in an unenviable situation with less than two months to go for the World Cup.
It was a given that the pocket-sized spinner would not be fit in time for the preceding tri-series involving Australia and England. The focus, therefore, was on getting her ready for the World Cup.
"Considering the state she was in, there was no chance that she was going to be fit for the tri-series," a source close to the Indian team told PTI.
"But still a decision was made that she travels to Australia as being away from the team at such a crucial time would have had a negative impact on her mindset. It would have also impacted her recovery," the source added.
"A lot of credit must go to team physio Tracy Fernandes who worked tirelessly to ensure Poonam recovered. It was a very serious injury as the left index finger was literally crushed with the impact.
"Thank god it was not her bowling hand. A plate was inserted into her finger and it is still there."
Considering the nature of the injury, it was not a surprise that Poonam expressed her happiness at just being part of the action again.
"I am thankful to the physio and my teammates (for ensuring her recovery) as it is not easy to come back after an injury," she said after her effort against the defending champions.
Her special skills with the ball may not be the most attractive but she gets the job done and is currently the leading wicket-taker in the game since 2018.
Three of her four wickets came with googlies as the Australian batters failed to pick her. She would have even got a hat-trick but keeper Taniya Bhatia grassed a tough chance.