ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019
Pant, who also auditioned amongst others as a potential No. 4 for India, had narrowly missed out on a World Cup berth earlier. © Getty
Rishabh Pant has been roped in as cover for the injured Shikhar Dhawan and is being flown to the UK for the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup. Pant will join the team in Manchester but he’ll only serve as a standby for Dhawan, confirmed the BCCI.
The Indian team management on Tuesday decided to keep Dhawan under observation instead of ruling him out of the World Cup just yet after he sustained a thumb injury on his left hand in the match against Australia, and sought no replacements.
Sanjay Bangar, assistant coach of the Indian side, confirmed that Dhawan would need at least 10-12 days before he is reassessed, which means the opener is certain to miss the matches against New Zealand (June 13) and Pakistan (June 16).
“As far as Shikhar is concerned, we’ll be observing him, and around the 10th or 12th day, we’ll get to know where he stands, and we’ll be in a better position to take a call because we don’t want to rule out a precious player like Shikhar. We’re straight at the time of when the impact or the injury happened, so we would like to wait and assess after 10, 12 days,” said Bangar who added the KL Rahul will move to the top of the order in Dhawan’s absence while Vijay Shankar also comes into the picture.
“As far as the batting order goes, yes, KL moves up at the top of the order, and there are various options the team management can utilise going into the next game. Obviously, Vijay Shankar is going to be an option, and there are a couple of others as well,” he said.
Under these circumstances, the Indian team has called up Pant as a back-up to allow him time to acclimatise to the conditions in the UK in the meantime, before a final call on Dhawan’s recovery is taken.
“The thing is around 10 or 12 days, we’ll be taking a call on the status of Shikhar. Until that point, just to make sure that if and when the replacement is required — and I’m saying if and when — then it is always good to have the replacement player coming in and practising with the team, as a stand by,” added Bangar.
Pant, who also auditioned amongst others as a potential No. 4 for India, had narrowly missed out on a World Cup berth to Dinesh Karthik when India’s 15-man contingent was formally announced in late April, with the selectors showing preferencefor the senior’s superior wicket-keeping skills.
Two days out from the New Zealand game in Nottingham, Dhawan was in Leeds for scans on his injured hand. Dhawan sustained the injury from a rising bouncer from Pat Cummins during his century at The Oval in London. He was seen receiving treatment from team physio Patrick Farhart on the same day, and didn’t come out to field in the second innings. Dhawan was later spotted in the dressing room with an ice pack over his thumb.