Shikhar Dhawan to miss the next two matches of ICC World Cup 2019! The story and possible replacements:

Shikhar Dhawan was hit on his left thumb while attempting to defend a fierce bouncer bowled by Pat Cummins during India’s match against defending champions Australia at The Oval on Sunday, 9th June 2019.

Though he sustained the injury on Sunday, he went on to score a match-winning 117 off 109 balls. Dhawan was named man-of-the-match for his blistering innings and his injury is a huge blow to India who are hot favourites to win the World Cup this year.

He had gone for a scan on Monday and the report reveals he has a fracture. The left-hander did not field at all during Australia’s run chase and was seen in the dressing room with an ice-pack on his left thumb. Ravindra Jadeja came in as the substitute fielder for Shikhar Dhawan.

Scans on Monday revealed a fracture, and Shikhar hasn’t travelled with the team to Nottingham. Reports also suggest that Dhawan has gone to Leeds along with team physio Patrick Farhat to see a recovery specialist to assess how long he will be out of the game for. As per the official broadcasters he will not be taking the field in the matches against New Zealand and Pakistan.

His injury is being assessed to determine exactly how long he will be out of the game for. It is estimated, and not official yet that Shikhar Dhawan may be ruled out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 for 3 weeks due to the fractured left thumb. In that case, he will not be able to play India’s upcoming matches against New Zealand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, West Indies and England.

The in-form Dhawan is a key player for India specially in ICC tournaments where he has 6 hundreds. In the 2015 World Cup, Dhawan scored 2 hundreds.

Since it’s a big injury, India will in all probability be allowed a replacement player. According to sources, Shikhar Dhawan’s possible replacement in England could either be Shreyas Iyer or Rishabh Pant while Ambati Rayudu is also in the standby list.

What are the possibilities India have in Shikhar’s absence? Let’s take a look at the likely scenarios:

If Pant replaces Dhawan:
a) India could use him as an opener along with Rohit Sharma. This move will not disturb the team’s balance, and will also keep the left-right combination going. It will also help Pant to play freely and with aggressive intent.
b) Rahuls opens with Rohit Sharma, and Pant can bat at number 4.
c) Rahul opens with Rohit, Kedar at 4, followed by Dhoni and Pant.
d) Rahul opens with Rohit, use Rishabh Pant as a floater depending on the match situation.

If Shreyas Iyer replaces Dhawan, he’ll bat at number 4, and Rahul will open with Rohit Sharma

How about Vijay Shankar? As he was tried at number 4 in the India’s home series against Australia this possibility cannot be ruled out. However, I feel that India will opt for more experienced player. He will come into picture if the conditions suits pace/swing bowling.

What about the experienced Dinesh Karthik then?
a) This will be a good option. India can use his experience at number 4 which means Rahul opens with Rohit.
b) DK has opened for India in his initial days, and has done it in England too. Who knows he would love to take up such responsibility and also he is a matured player now. This move will also not change the team’s current combination. So why not give it a thought?

Are you sure Rayudu will not be sent in as a replacement?
I personally feel he would be a good option too, he has the experience and has done it for India few times. However, Pant has an edge over him. So the chances are very less. In case he will be picked, he’ll be the number 4, and Rahul will open along with Rohit.