Rajeshwari Gayakwad recovering from Covid-19, left out of England tour due to knee injury

Rajeshwari Gayakwad claimed the first wicket to fall AFP

Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad has been left out of the India Women's squads for the tour of England because of a knee injury she is understood to have been carrying during the home series against South Africa earlier this year and also because she is currently recovering from Covid-19.

ESPNcricinfo understands Gayakwad, who played just two matches for the Railways in the Women's Senior One Day Trophy 2020-21 after the South Africa series, tested positive for Covid-19 last month and is currently recovering in Bengaluru. In the domestic tournament, she had walked off the field in the semi-final against Bengal without finishing her quota of overs. She did not play the final against Jharkhand on April 4.

No official announcement was made during or after the South Africa series about Gayakwad carrying the injury. The squad announcement for the England tour did not contain any information concerning Gayakwad's exclusion either.

But she would likely have been picked if not for injury and illness. Gayakwad was among the best performers from the India side during the South Africa series. She was the joint-highest wicket-taker in the five-match ODI series with eight wickets at an average of 20.25, and picked up a Player-of-the-Match-winning 3 for 9 in the third and final T20I.

India is currently grappling with a devastating second wave of Covid-19, and has recorded upwards of 300,000 new cases every day for the last three weeks. Sachin Tendulkar, S Badrinath, Yusuf Pathan, Vanitha VR, and Harmanpreet Kaur are among the former and current cricketers to have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past two months and recovered since.

Former India Women players Devika Palshikar - who was among the shortlisted candidates for the head coach role that eventually went to Ramesh Powar - Amita Sharma and Sunetra Paranjpe have also recovered from Covid-19. Families of several other cricketers, including those of MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Chetan Sakariya, Veda Krishnamurthy, Piyush Chawla and RP Singh have also been affected.