Revealing the reason behind India’s decision to stick with injured Shikhar Dhawan and not ask for an official replacement, captain Virat Kohli said the team management wanted the opener’s services in the latter half of the ICC World Cup 2019 group stages and the knockouts.
Dhawan has been sidelined for at least two weeks after being struck on the left thumb by a rising delivery from Pat Cummins during India’s second World Cup game against Australia. Instead of naming a replacement, the Indian team management decided to keep Dhawan under observation and asked Rishabh Pant to fly in as a cover.
“Hopefully, the injury heals quickly and he (Dhawan) will be available for the latter half of our league games and semi-finals for sure. From that point of view, we want to hold him back, keep him here,” Kohli said after the India vs New Zealand game at Trent Bridge, Nottingham was washed out due to rain.
Kohli also hailed Dhawan’s mindset, stating that his positive attitude will help him recover quickly. “He wants to play. I think that kind of mindset will help in healing the injury as well as he really wants to play,” Kohli said.
Though there has been no official timeline give about Dhawan’s recovery, Virat Kohli did give an indication about the progress of the left-hander.
“Dhawan is going to be in a plaster for a couple of weeks. After that we will assess where he stands,” added Kohli.
However, it will be easier said than done as not only Dhawan’s batting fitness but his ability to field without a problem will also be taken into consideration before including him back in the playing XI.
“Throwing won’t be a problem as it is not his dominant hand” - Dhawan is a natural right hander who bats left handed. What will need to be studied carefully is “the impact while fielding and catching, specially is he is a slip fielder,” said India fielding coach R Sridhar.
In Dhawan’s absence KL Rahul is set to open the batting with Rohit Sharma but question mark over India’s No. 4 remains. The New Zealand game might have given an idea about India’s thinking but unfortunately rain and wet outfield did not even allow the toss to take place. Both teams shared points.
India next take on Pakistan on June 16 at Manchester with either Dinesh Karthik or Vijay Shankar slated to replace Dhawan in the playing XI.