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.
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. While the opener is certain to miss the match against New Zealand on Thursday, there’s no official word on how long his recovery could take.
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 Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman will not be a part of India’s official 15-member World Cup squad yet.
Meanwhile 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. Owing to his injury, India would now likely have to push KL Rahul to the top of the order, and play a different No. 4 batsman.
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.