England captain Heather Knight has been ruled out of her side’s opening game at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday night because of an ongoing hip injury.
Knight received an injection to relieve irritation in her hip joint and performed at Edgbaston this weekend after missing the final two Twenty20s of the multi-format series against South Africa.
While Knight is optimistic she will be fit enough to face the Proteas in their second Group B game on Tuesday, Nat Sciver will represent the England skipper for the Sri Lanka clash.
“I didn’t manage to be fit for (Saturday), it took a little longer to settle in than I would have liked, but the goal is now Tuesday and I’m trying to be ready for that,” Knight said the PA news agency.
“It’s one of those wait-and-see things, we’re not sure how things will play out, but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could play a role that will contribute to the games.
“It’s frustrating but the thing about these injuries is you have to be patient and give them the time to heal properly and not rush back too quickly. They are in capable hands now and Nat will do a great job.”
England clinched a comprehensive 14-2 points win over South Africa earlier this week, with Sciver at the top of the last couple of T20s and she’s enjoying leading the side again.
“The captaincy role always takes a game or two to get into. Hopefully we can settle in quickly,” Sciver told PA.
“As there’s a bit more spectacle at the Commonwealth Games it might take a little longer and there might be a few nerves but we’re looking forward to getting going again.”
Cricket returns to the Games after 24 years and while Kuala Lumpur hosted a men’s 50-over tournament in 1998, this event in Birmingham, which started on Friday, is Twenty20 and women-only.
With England in the Euro 2022 final this Sunday and the nation’s cricket, netball and hockey teams vying for gold in the Midlands, women’s sport is the center of attention.
“There’s a real focus on it that wouldn’t have been there in the past, which is a step forward in itself,” said Knight, who is hoping to see England v Germany join her team-mates in the Athletes’ Village.
“The Lionesses have accomplished so much, it’s been amazing and I was inspired to see them play. It was amazing to see their journey and see them brush off teams.
“Every summer it feels like it’s the summer of women’s sport and it reaches a new level every time, it keeps surprising me and everyone. If we can do our part to push it further and get people talking about women’s sport, that will be great.”
Australia, holders of both limited World Cups, are overwhelming favorites for the podium after next Sunday’s final in a tournament involving almost all the leading countries.
Recognizing this, Knight believes a gold medal here would represent the greatest achievements of her career, alongside leading England to a landmark 50-over World Cup win on home soil in 2017.
“If we’re going to be successful, it will certainly be comparable to winning a world championship,” added Knight. “With Commonwealth Games it would reach so many more people. That adds a bit of pressure, but creates excitement and opportunity.
“It’s no secret that we’ve often finished second to Australia in recent years and we’ve challenged the girls after the World Cup and Ashes this winter to do things a little differently.
“All we tried was to beat Australia and not come second in world events. I think this will be a really good test for that.”