ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Shikhar set to be on sidelines

Omkar Paranjape
Wednesday, 12 June 2019

The dull and gloomy Nottingham weather brought a ‘heart in the mouth moment’ to the Indian team on Tuesday with opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan being ruled out of the tournament for around three weeks.

Nottingham: The dull and gloomy Nottingham weather brought a ‘heart in the mouth moment’ to the Indian team on Tuesday with opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan being ruled out of the tournament for around three weeks.

As per information received, Shikhar Dhawan will be under observation and remain with the Indian team in England. No replacement has been named as of now.

Dhawan, the hero of India’s win over Australia at Kennington Oval, played through pain after being hit on the thumb by a rising delivery from pacer Pat Cummins. 

India team physio Patrick Farhart and Dhawan himself updated captain Virat Kohli, head coach Ravi Shastri and batting coach Sanjay Bangar about the situation, following which the decision to keep him with the team was taken.

 There is no information yet on how long Dhawan’s recovery might take.

The southpaw, therefore, is likely to miss India’s upcoming matches against New Zealand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, West Indies and England—all these matches are scheduled to be played in June.

“Team India opening batsman Mr Shikhar Dhawan is presently under the observation of the BCCI medical team. The team management has decided that Mr Dhawan will continue to be in England and his progress will be monitored.”

“Mr Dhawan sustained an injury on the back of his left hand in the region between the index finger and thumb during the match against Australia.”

Catch 22 situation
According to BCCI, the Indian selectors have not yet named any replacement; if a replacement is named, Dhawan can only come back to the squad if another player is injured and the tournament technical committee is satisfied with that replacement.

The Indian management now faces a dilemma—if they think Dhawan can recover in time for the knockouts, they can’t name a replacement for him in the squad of 15.
Considering that India plays two crucial matches in next 5 days (New Zealand on June 13 and Pakistan on June 16), the team management will be keen to give Dhawan as much time as possible to recover.

The other thought process says, if Dhawan is not guaranteed to be fighting fit for the semi-finals, it would be a too-big-a gamble to play with, given the seriousness of his injury.

In Dhawan’s absence, India are likely to open the innings with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, which would mean that captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri would have to, once again, make a decision on the number four slot, which was earlier filled by Rahul. 

Pant to be called up?
Designated standbys Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant are in contention to replace Dhawan. There are speculations that swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant could get a call-up, in case Dhawan’s injury is as bad as feared.

Given the fact that he’s fractured his thumb, it will take a considerable amount of time for Dhawan to be fully fit and one aggressive batsman replacing the crocked Dhawan fits the team’s demand.

However, the selectors might also bring in Mumbai and India A captain Shreyas Iyer as he is a specialist No. 4 batsman. Iyer is currently in England.

After the match at Kennington Oval, Virat Kohli was asked for an update on Dhawan. He replied by saying that he had not heard from the team management but that Farhart was working with Dhawan, and that an update would be provided in a couple of days.

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