The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars have been dealt a major blow ahead of the ICC Women's World T20, with allrounder Grace Harris ruled out of the tournament after being diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis.
Harris did not fly to India with her Southern Stars teammates on Wednesday morning, instead remaining in Australia as she sought medical advice.
Unfortunately for the three-time defending champions the news was not positive, with flying judged too big a risk for the 22-year-old.
Uncapped Sydney Thunder allrounder Nicole Carey has been called into the 15-player squad and will join up with her Southern Stars teammates in Chennai on Saturday ahead of their warm-up match against the West Indies on Monday.
It is the second case of DVT to strike Australian cricket this year. In January, the men's team head coach Darren Lehmann was also diagnosed with DVT. That required a short say in hospital and saw Lehmann miss the KFC T20 INTL series against India and the Chappell-Hadlee series against New Zealand as a result.
This is not the first time Carey, 22, has found herself packing her bags at the last-minute for a World T20. In 2012 she was a late call-up for the tournament in Sri Lanka, replacing an ill Sarah Coyte.
"Grace has been diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis and started treatment for the condition," Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars team doctor Leanne Hutchison confirmed.
"After consultation with external specialists and the medical team at Cricket Australia, the decision was made that it was not medically safe for her to fly and play whilst undergoing treatment,"
While Harris struggled to make an impact with the bat in Australia's series against India and their tour of New Zealand, she was recalled to the Southern Stars XI for the second and third T20s against the White Ferns earlier this month and showed promising signs, capturing two key wickets.
"Even though Grace hasn't set the world on fire during the last period, we think she's a real match winner," Southern Stars coach Mott told cricket.com.au as the team prepared to depart for India.
"Her bowling was just starting to really take shape against New Zealand and it's exciting what she can offer as a package.
"She would be a big loss if we didn't have her, if we're going at a decent pace she's the sort of player who can come in and potentially finish off a game like no one else in the world can."
It's a blow for the Southern Stars, whose batting line-up finally started to click in the final T20 against New Zealand last week.
Seeking to cement their optimum batting line-up during the series, captain Meg Lanning moved to the top of the order and now appears settled in the position alongside Elyse Villani.
Ellyse Perry is flourishing at first drop followed by the experience of Alex Blackwell at No.4, with power hitter Alyssa Healy, classy allrounder Jess Jonassen and Harris coming in further down the order.
However Mott believes the squad has the depth to be flexible with its line-up.
"We've got a lot of potential match winners and that’s what T20 cricket comes down to in big tournaments. If one or two players have a good game it goes a long way to a team winning.
"Everyone who gets an opportunity in our XI we think has the potential to be that match winner."
Carey has yet to make her international T20 debut – she was not called upon during the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka – but is a Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars contracted player and the left-hand batter impressed in Sydney Thunder green during the Rebel Women's Big Bash League, scoring a 36-ball 53 against the Sydney Sixers while capturing 16 wickets with her right-arm medium pace, including 4-12 against the Hobart Hurricanes.
"Nicola Carey has impressed in the Shooting Stars development squad, as well as during our domestic season, and will give our squad a number of options and added depth with her all-round skills," Women’s National Selection Panel Chairman of Selectors Shawn Flegler said.
Southern Stars squad: Meg Lanning (c), Alex Blackwell (vc), Kristen Beams, Nicola Carey, Lauren Cheatle, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani