After their perfect opening of two games and two wins, India have been rocked by the news that their opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan has suffered a bad injury to his thumb and could miss the rest of the tournament – with at least three weeks predicted as a minimum for his recovery.
Dhawan, 33, was sensational in India’s victory over Australia on Sunday – making a man of the match contribution of 117 from 109 balls, helping India to a 352/5 total that the Aussies could not reach, and keeping India’s 100% record intact.
But Dhawan did not take to the field in India’s defence of their huge total, watching on from the balcony as his team defended the Aussies successfully. But, after a Pat Cummins bouncer that appeared innocuous at the time, coming early in the innings but not stopping Dhawan’s assault on the subsequent Australian bowling, tests showed that Dhawan has suffered a suspected hairline fracture of his left thumb – and this could put his reappearance for India in this tournament in doubt.
The Indian team are waiting for further diagnosis and results of more scans before determining whether to call up a replacement for Dhawan. Tournament rules state that should a replacement be called up, Dhawan can only be recalled should another player go down injured and also ruled out. The Indian selectors will be reluctant to do this if they feel Dhawan will be ready to go in time for the knockout stages – assuming India make it that far.
Dhawan has been a pivotal player for India in ODI’s – and in the World Cup. In ten World Cup matches, Dhawan has contributed 537 runs at an average of 53.70 with a very healthy strike rate across those games also, at 94.21. His partnership with Rohit Sharma is currently the 4th best in world ODI history – with 4681 runs between the two at an average of 45.89.
If the results of the scans come back relatively positive, the Indian selectors will likely promote Rahul to open with Sharma, and bring in either Dinesh Karthik or Vijay Shankar. But this is only if they are pretty certain that Dhawan will be able to return for the semi finals at the very latest – and hope his absence doesn’t cost them more than the loss of his invaluable runs.
SHIKHAR DHAWAN – FACT FILE
- Age : 33
- Position : Opener – Left Hand Bat
- Domestic Team : Delhi Capitals
- Test Match Runs : 2315 (58 innings)
- Test Match Average : 40.61
- Test Match High Score : 190
- ODI Runs : 5480 (129 innings)
- ODI Average : 44.91
- ODI High Score : 143