World Cup 2019: Rishabh Pant frontrunner as replacement of Dhawan?

Indian team’s World Cup campaign received a major jolt on Tuesday as opener Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the remaining part of the series due to a fractured thumb. Despite a poor start in the tournament, Dhawan had roared into form against Australia by hitting a brilliant ton at The Oval on Sunday.

He was in pain after being hit on the thumb by a Pat Cummins delivery during his 109-ball knock. While he continued to bat with the injury, Ravindra Jadeja took over when India came out to field.

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 frontrunner as K.L. Rahul is expected to open the innings and whoever comes in will fit into the middle-order.

Quoting sources, a report by The Times of India said that once all the details on Dhawan’s injury will be available, an official request for a replacement will be put out by the team management and that replacement is going to be Pant.

While India can look to push in one from either Dinesh Karthik or Vijay Shankar into the playing 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’s recovery and not call for a replacement.

(With IANS inputs)