For a side that has been busy hammering one opponent after another, the Indian cricket team suffered a blow after Shikhar Dhawan got injured during their clash against Australia at the ongoing ICC World Cup. The Indian opener was initially ruled out for about two to three weeks, but was asked to prove his fitness in a bid to make a comeback in the team.
Given his blistering knock of 117 runs which paved the way for India's 36-run triumph over Australia, Dhawan's thumb injury, a hairline fracture, was undoubtedly a cause of concern. His absence would not only leave the opening slot vacant, but will also deny India one of its prolific run-scorers at the top.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), taking note of the situation, decided to fly Rishabh Pant, who was earlier overlooked for the 15-man Team India squad, to England. While Pant is yet to feature in the playing XI, such has been Team India's bench strength that they barely missed Dhawan in their marquee clash against Pakistan at Old Trafford.
Moving KL Rahul at the top alongside Rohit Sharma, the Indian team management went for allrounder Vijay Shankar. For someone who struggled to keep his place in the side in the past 10 months, Rahul grabbed the opportunity with both hands, oozing confidence with his sensible knock of 57 runs.
Rahul's ascension to the top had also left a void in the middle-order which was adequately filled by Shankar who scored 15 runs and then surprised everyone with his impressive figures of 2-22. Barring, maybe, running between the wickets between Rahul and Rohit, Dhawan's absence, thankfully, didn't really make a difference in India's clinical 89-run win (D/L) over Pakistan.June 19, 2019
Thus, on 19th June, when the Indian cricket board announced that Dhawan hasn't recovered well enough to play the World Cup, the news, as sad as it may be for the opening batsman, shouldn't really affect Virat Kohli & Co's title aspirations. With Dhawan getting ruled out, Pant has now been officially announced as his replacement and included in the squad. He will now be eligible for selection in the upcoming games.
Dhawan has been India's leading run-getter in the last five ODI tournaments (with more than five teams). He was the top run-scorer for India in the 2013 Champions Trophy, 2014 Asia Cup, 2015 World Cup, 2017 Champions Trophy and 2018 Asia Cup. For someone who seems to thrive on big stages, Dhawan will feel quite unfortunate to be ruled out of the World Cup due to injury.
Mixed feelings about this...— Aishani (@AishaniMishra) June 19, 2019
With three wins and a no-result in four games so far, the Indian cricket team is currently placed at the fourth spot in the table with seven points for their showing in the tournament. The Kohli brigade will now take on Afghanistan on 22nd June in Southampton.