Pant to replace Dhawan who is ruled out for rest of World Cup

File photo of Shikhar Dhawan

Southampton:¬†Young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant, who did not find a place in India’s World Cup squad, has now earned a call to the side replacing opener Shikhar Dhawan, who, Wednesday, was ruled out of the squad after failing to make enough recovery in a fresh assessment of his thumb fracture.

Dhawan, 33, picked up the injury on his left thumb during the 9 June clash against Australia in London and was initially ruled out for three games — against Pakistan (16 June), Afghanistan (22 June) and West Indies (27 June).

“Shikhar Dhawan has fractured the base of the metacarpal (bone) of his left hand. His hand will remain in cast till mid-July which rules him out of the ICC 2019 World Cup,” team’s administrative manager Sunil Subramanium told mediapersons.

“We have written to the ICC requesting Rishabh Pant as replacement,” he added.

Pant comes in with an accumulated ODI experience of five matches but is considered a trump card owing to his fearless approach.  He was part of the official standbys list along with Ambati Rayudu.

Dhawan was always running against time to be fit for the match against England, scheduled for 30 June in Birmingham.

It is learnt that the swashbuckling opener, who played through pain to score a hundred against Australia, “had no chance” of recovering in time. “Dhawan was never going to be fit in time. However, the team management was reluctant to name a replacement. It was never on the same page with selectors who wanted to announce an official replacement right after his (Dhawan’s) diagnosis,” said a source privy to the developments.

The left-hander tweeted his disappointment at missing out on competing further in the tournament but said “the show must go on”.

“I feel emotional to announce that I will no longer be a part of #CWC19. Unfortunately, the thumb won’t recover on (sic) time. But the show must go on… I’m grateful for all the love & support from my team mates, cricket lovers & our entire nation. Jai Hind!,” Dhawan wrote on his Twitter page.

Pant had scored impressive hundreds during the Test tours of England and Australia. He also enjoyed a good run in the IPL last month, scoring 488 runs with a strike rate of over 160.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that the Event Technical Committee of the Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 has approved Rishabh Pant as a replacement player for Shikhar Dhawan in India’s squad for the remainder of the tournament, a statement from the global body said.