Thumb strain all but takes Dhawan out of WC

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Chan­der Shekhar Luthra [email protected]­

New Delhi: Team In­dia’s man-of-the-match against Aus­tralia, Shikhar Dhawan, is all but out of the on­go­ing 2019 World Cup cam­paign after suf­fer­ing a hair­line frac­ture on his left thumb on Sun­day.

This mas­sive jolt has not shaken just the team’s dress­ing room but has also sent an SOS to the se­nior se­lec­tion com­mit­tee to look for a quick re­place­ment to reach Eng­land in time for the next game against New Zealand on June 13 (Thurs­day).

Dhawan is cur­rently be­ing as­sessed by the team’s phys­io­ther­a­pist Patrick Farhart, and other spe­cial­ists are be­ing consulted to eval­u­ate his fit­ness.

“The ini­tial in­for­ma­tion that has reached us is that Shikhar is out for two to three weeks,” a BCCI in­sider told DNA. “The sta­tus of injury is likely to emerge soon.”

When asked if a re­quest has been made for a re­place­ment by team man­age­ment? “Not yet,” was the re­ply.

The In­dian team spokesper­son said on Tues­day that “theteam man­age­ment has de­cided that Mr Dhawan will con­tinue to be in Eng­land and his progress will be mon­i­tored.”

There could be a slight de­lay in nam­ing 33-year-old Dhawan’s re­place­ment be­cause of ICC’S stiff rules in this re­gard. This de­spite the fact that three of the five se­lec­tors – MSK Prasad (chair­man), Saran­deep Singh and De­bang Gandhi – are cur­rently in Eng­land with the squad.

In the nor­mal course, the se­lec­tion chief would have to meet with team man­age­ment be­fore nam­ing a re­place­ment. But in this case, no de­ci­sion can be reached be­fore a full med­i­cal re­port that stip­u­lates the re­cov­ery pe­riod Dhawan is likely to need.

The ICC rule­book states that “once re­placed by another player, Shikhar can only come back to the squad if another player is in­jured and the tour­na­ment tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee is sat­is­fied with that re­place­ment”.

A dilemma man­i­fests if Dhawan can re­cover in time for the knock­outs.

Ac­cord­ing to an in­sider, the 33-year-old mid­dle-or­der bats­man Am­bati Rayudu and young wick­et­keeper-bats­man Rishabh Pant are in con­tention to re­place Dhawan. And, nei­ther of them are open­ers.

“KL Rahul can open the in­nings along with Ro­hit Sharma, but Rayudu’s in­clu­sion can strengthen our mid­dle-or­der bat­ting,” rea­soned the source. “Es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing that the No. 4 slot has not been taken by any­one since he (Rayudu) was omit­ted from the squad on ac­count of his form slump.” Turn to P4

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