Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha
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India opener Smriti Mandhana announced on Instagram on Tuesday that she has completed her quarantine and is out of the New Zealand government's Mandatory Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facility. Once declared fit after joining the India squad, she should be available for selection for the rest of the New Zealand tour that has three ODIs remaining. New Zealand currently lead the ODI series 2-0.
Though the BCCI is yet to put out an official statement on the trio's absence from the first three matches, it is learnt one of them had tested positive for Covid-19 after landing in New Zealand with the extended squad late last month. All three players are double vaccinated.
Travel-related issues, as reported last week, was at the heart of Mandhana having to stay at the MIQ and not link up with the 15 players, support staff, and two selectors, who completed quarantine and travelled to Queenstown, where the five-match ODI series is underway. The three players will now join the rest of India's touring party and are expected to be available for selection for the third ODI on February 18.
New Zealand's border arrangements require all overseas arrivals to stay in the government's MIQ facilities for a mandatory ten days, with the World Cup teams all having had their stints approved before a recent pause to the system. India, who arrived in New Zealand on January 26, became the first participating team at the World Cup to enter the MIQ. As of Tuesday, at least three World Cup squads are understood to be serving out their mandatory stay in the MIQ facilities.
New Zealand then took a 2-0 lead on Tuesday with a three-wicket win. The bilateral series is part of the teams' preparation for the Women's World Cup that starts early next month. Hosts New Zealand are scheduled to play the tournament opener on March 4 against West Indies while India kick-off their campaign on March 6 versus Pakistan.