New Delhi: Team India suffered a huge jolt on Tuesday as opener Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the 2019 World Cup for three weeks with a fractured thumb. Dhawan was hit by a ball from Nathan Coulter-Nile during his brilliant century against Australia at The Oval on Sunday. He was in pain but continued to bat with a tapped thumb. During the Australia innings, it was Ravindra Jadeja who took the field for Dhawan.
Sources in the know of developments said that it didn't look very rosy after the swelling refused to subside.
"Patrick Farhart has done the initial treatment and Dhawan had iced the thumb for quite a bit, but the swelling just didn't subside and that is when we decided that this needed a scan," the source said.
Going into the game against Australia at The Oval, Dhawan didn't have the best of starts to this year's World Cup, but back at his favourite hunting ground, the opener looked in fine spirit as he hit his first hundred of the tournament.
Speaking after the game, the opener had said: "We are happy with the result as it was a great team effort. It's a great sign for our team and I'm happy with this man of the match award. We are very happy with the performance overall."
India in Dhawan quandary as Kohli & Co. await specialist's report
While everyone is talking about how India suffered a huge jolt, the team management has a new dilemma. They are still not sure if they should rope in a replacement for the opening batsman. As per rules, if Dhawan is replaced by another player, he can no longer play a part in the tournament. The whole issue stems from the nature of Dhawan's injury.
IANS has learnt that the fracture line has only been detected on CT scan and no fracture was detected post X-ray. This has seen Dhawan travel to Leeds for further consultation. It is believed that while the team can apply for a replacement any time, they want to be certain on Dhawan's injury status and recovery time before deciding on whether or not to call a replacement.
The Indian selectors had earlier named Ambati Rayudu, Rishabh Pant, Navdeep Saini, Ishant Sharma and Axar Patel as the reserves and while they can pick anyone from even outside the list, it is believed that Pant is the front-runner as K.L. Rahul is expected to open the innings and whoever comes in will fit into the middle-order.
It is believed that K.L. Rahul will be asked to open the innings with Rohit Sharma in the match against New Zealand while a replacement will be sought after the team management decides on who they feel is most suited to fit into the playing XI.
While India can look to push in one from either Dinesh Karthik or Vijay Shankar into the XI for the game against New Zealand on Thursday, a call must be taken quickly on whether they wish to replace Dhawan or wait for him to return stronger for the business end of the World Cup.
If it is indeed an injury which could heal in a couple of weeks, the team management might want to wait for Dhawan and not call for a replacement. But the final decision will only be taken once the report of the specialist arrives.