All speculations regarding India’s choice for replacing Shikhar Dhawan came to an end on Wednesday (12 June). A BCCI official confirmed that wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant will be flying as a cover for injured India opener Shikhar Dhawan. The centurion in India’s last match sustained a thumb injury and has been ruled out of three matches at least.
As the news of Dhawan’s injury broke out, Indian cricket fans went into an overdrive mode regarding the selection of a replacement player. Rishabh Pant, Ambati Rayudu and Shreyas Iyer were the frontrunners while some fans also rallied for Ajinkya Rahane’s inclusion. Later BCCI clarified the situation by posting the following tweet:
“Team India opening batsman Mr Shikhar Dhawan is presently under the observation of the BCCI medical team. The team management has decided that Mr Dhawan will continue to be in England and his progress will be monitored.”
Dhawan was dismissed for only eight runs in the first match against South Africa but celebrated a match-winning hundred against Australia. He was rapped on the gloves before he got to his hundred but fought hard to remain at the crease. He was adjudged man of the match of his knock 117 runs.
Although Dhawan will be recovering from his thumb injury, the team management has decided to send Rishabh Pant as cover. Pant will take Dhawan’s place in the 15-man squad in case the opener is ruled out. Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman has played only five ODIs for India so far and has scored 93 runs.