Southampton: Injured all-rounder Vijay Shankar is hopeful of playing India's next World Cup encounter against Afghanistan as the pain inflicted by a Jasprit Bumrah toe-crusher during a batting net session has subsided.
Shankar took a short fitness test in which he was made to do some running and also bowled a few deliveries under the supervision of physio Patrick Farhart and trainer Shankar Basu. It couldn't be ascertained whether the physio and the trainer were happy with his progress.
There have been instances in the past where a player, who has attended a pre-match press conference hasn't made it to the playing 11. Shankar responded to queries over his inclusion during the press conference.
When asked if he will be able to play, "Yeah, hopefully," was Vijay Shankar's short reply. However, Shankar elaborated on length about the lethal nature of Bumrah's yorkers, saying that he was expecting them to be as such. "Actually, when you play someone like Bumrah, you always expect that. Still, sometimes we do miss that," he smiled when asked if he expected a delivery like that.
While the team management's reason for sending Shankar was to send a signal that he is fit and available, a lot will depend on the morning of the game and prevailing conditions which could change any moment.
In case Shankar doesn't play due to fitness concerns or the team's combination, the toss-up will be between Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik. Pant is a popular choice for his exciting strokeplay but Karthik's experience in a big-ticket tournament can't be ignored either.
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The meeting comes at a time when humanitarian crises are looming in Afghanistan and the economy of the Taliban-led country is on the brink of collapse
Earlier, there had been reports that Pakistan had blocked India's efforts to provide wheat to the Afghan people, amid the chill in relations between New Delhi and Islamabad over the Kashmir issue
Amir Khan Muttaqi, foreign minister of the Taliban government, which is not recognised by the international community, called last week in an open letter to the US Congress for the release of Afghan assets frozen by the US