World Cup: Pant asked to join Team India as cover for injured Dhawan

Rishabh Pant

Mumbai: Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been asked to board the earliest possible flight to England and join the Indian team as a cover for injured opener Shikhar Dhawan. Pant, however, will not be named as an official replacement of Dhawan as the Indian team management has decided to keep the opener under observation.

Rishabh Pant was ignored for India’s 15-member World Cup squad but he and Ambati Rayudu were named as designated standbys. After Dhawan’s injury, the team management has reportedly opted for the Delhi youngster instead of the experienced Rayudu.

In Dhawan’s absence, K L Rahul is expected to open the innings with vice-captain Rohit Sharma. In India’s next two ICC World Cup 2019 matches against New Zealand and Pakistan, either Dinesh Karthik or Vijay Shankar will slot in at No. 4 position based on the conditions.

A call on whether to officially request ICC to replace Dhawan with Pant will be made after further assessment on Dhawan’s injury.

That the team management has decided Shikhar Dhawan will continue to be in England and his progress will be monitored was the only official update on the opening batsman’s injury from the Indian camp Tuesday.

Various reports, however, suggest that Dhawan’s suspected hairline fracture might take three weeks to heal, effectively ruling him out of India’s all following group stage encounters.

Dhawan, who scored 117 off 109 balls against Australia and helped India to a massive total of 352 on the board, went through precautionary scans Tuesday to determine the extent of injury on his swollen left thumb.

After a poor start to the campaign against South Africa, Dhawan hit a breath-taking century against Australia.

During the course of his knock against the defending champions, the southpaw was hit on the thumb by fast-bowler Pat Cummins.

While Dhawan continued to bat with the injury, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja came in as substitute fielder and was on the field for the full length of the Aussie innings.