Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of the remainder of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 after picking up a hairline fracture on left thumb in the win against Australia on 9 June. Rishabh Pant, who had initially been named as a cover for the left-handed opener, has now been named as a permanent replacement. Despite the blow to the thumb against Australia, Dhawan continued to bat and score 117 runs.
Initially ruled out for two matches and then the timeline grew bigger to span until the end of June. Since the win against Australia, India were scheduled to play New Zealand, which was washed out, and Pakistan, where KL Rahul opened the innings alongside Rohit Sharma. KL Rahul made a decent start with 57 runs and an opening wicket stand of 136 runs.
BCCI put out a statement on Twitter which read, "Shikhar Dhawan has been diagnosed with a fracture of the first metacarpal on his left hand following a ball impact injury during the team’s first match versus Australia at the Oval on 5th June 2019."
"Following several specialist opinions, he will remain in a cast until the middle of July and therefore will not be available for the remainder of #CWC19."
Indian team manager Sunil Subramaniam confirmed that they've asked for Pant as a replacement.
In the press interaction to shed light on Dhawan's injury, strength and conditioning coach Shankar Basu said, "During Indian Premier League (IPL), whether we like it or not, the boys take a beating. During IPL, they sleep as late as 2-3 AM, getting back to training regime was a sort of a challenge. They understand importance of good sleep/wake pattern, good nutrition and training."
Dhawan suffered the injury after being hit by a Pat Cummins bouncer during his 109-ball 117 knock against Australia. While the X-ray didn't show any fracture, CT scan revealed otherwise and Dhawan was taken to a specialist in Leeds for further assessment.
India's assistant coach Sanjay Bangar had said that Dhawan would be kept with the squad in order to be observed before a final call is taken on his inclusion in the squad. "As far as Shikhar is concerned, we are observing him and it will take some time, around 10 or 12 days to figure out where he stands," Bangar had said on 12 June, the eve of the match against New Zealand.
"We will be in a better position to take a call then because we don't want to rule out a precious player like Shikhar, straight at the time of the injury," he added.
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 19, 2019
"Since Dhawan's assessment will take 10-12 days, till that point of time, we wanted to make sure if and when the replacement is required and I am saying if and when, then it is always good to have a replacement player coming in and practising with the team as a stand-by," Bangar had gone on to say.
Fielding coach R Sridhar had observed that even if Dhawan had become fit to bat, he wouldn't be able to field immediately.
"Throwing won't be a problem, but definitely there will be impact while fielding and catching, especially (since) he's a slip fielder. If you know, he stands in the slips in the initial phase of the innings, that can be an issue. We'll test him out with lighter balls first and gradually move on to the cricket ball and see how it goes from there, but, yeah, that will be a challenge," Sridhar said.
"Once we assess him, probably on 10th or 12th day, we'll have to look - it's his bottom hand (left) while batting. It's not his dominant hand because he's a (natural) right-hander," he added.
The latest development comes as a major blow to India's campaign due to Dhawan's record in ICC tournaments. He has three centuries in Champions Trophy tournaments and three in World Cups. Alongside Rohit and Virat Kohli, Dhawan forms the formidable trio at the top of Indian batting.
After being ruled out till July, Dhawan was spotted training in the gym and was also seen on the ground during India's nets session before the marquee clash against Pakistan at Old Trafford.
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