India have dealt a huge blow with the injury to Shikhar Dhawan as the opener found form in the match against Australia. His century propelled India to 352, but now the southpaw has been sidelined for a minimum of three weeks. Although, the BCCI has not sent him back home and they have also not asked for a replacement, reports have emerged that young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been asked to join the squad.
Pant, however, will not be named as an official replacement of Dhawan as the Indian team management has decided to keep the opener under observation. He was not included in India's original World Cup squad as the Indian selectors decided to opt for the experienced Dinesh Karthik as the backup wicket-keeper. However, along with Pant, Ambati Rayudu was identified as standby players, and now with the injury to Dhawan, Pant could get the nod as the provides the left-hand option at the top of the order.
Rahul will open the innings in Dhawan's absence
Also, in Dhawan's absence, KL Rahul will be bumped up the order to open the innings along with KL Rahul. Also, Vijay Shankar will be slotted in at the number four position and his bowling will give Virat Kohli a good viable option as the fifth seamer. India play New Zealand on Thursday, June 13 followed by the marquee clash against Pakistan on Sunday, June 16.
As far as Dhawan's injury is concerned, the official statement released by the BCCI read: "The team management has decided that Shikhar Dhawan will continue to be in England and his progress will be monitored".
Various reports, right through the day, said that the left-hander could well be ruled out of India's campaign, but such is his importance to this Indian team, that the BCCI is willing to wait and assess him.
Dhawan, who scored 117 off 109 balls against Australia and helped India to a massive total of 352 on the board, went through precautionary scans on Tuesday to determine the extent of the injury on his swollen left thumb.
"...it has to be Rishabh Pant. He has been in cracking hot form in the IPL. He would probably want to show that he deserved to be in the team in the first place," former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar told 'India Today' when asked about his pick for a replacement if Dhawan is ruled out.