ICC World Cup 2019: Rishabh Pant called in as cover for injured Shikhar Dhawan
Rishabh Pant, the young Indian wicketkeeper-batsman who was initially left out from the 15-member World Cup squad, is being flown in as a cover for injured Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan.
Shikhar Dhawan has sustained a fracture on his left thumb, due to which his participation in the cricket world cup has almost been ruled out. Dhawan has sustained a fracture and it might take a month for him to fully recover. The news comes as a major blow to Team India, as Dhawan had played an instrumental role in India’s major win over Australia on June 9.
Rishabh Pant replacement or cover: Why is there a delay in announcing Pant as Dhawan’s replacement?
According to reports, while Shikhar Dhawan has almost been ruled out of the ICC World Cup 2019, the Indian side’s team management is not keen on calling any replacement for Dhawan, including Pant and instead hope for Dhawan to get fit before the end of the tournament, at least by the semi-finals or finals.
There have been times when athletes have recovered faster than expected and the team management is pinning its hopes on this. Indian skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri are willing to wait even if Dhawan is fit for the last group match against Sri Lanka on July 6.
The selection committee of the Indian cricket team headed by Chairman MSK Prasad, however, wants to announce a replacement straightaway. An official announcement of replacement would mean that Dhawan would have no chance of coming back into the team if India goes into semi-finals or finals.
Hence, for now, Rishab Pant is being called in as a cover and back-up, in case he is needed urgently. He was scheduled to reach England on the eve of India vs New Zealand World Cup 2019 match. Pant won’t be considered as a replacement to Dhawan until the team management takes a final call on Dhawan's availability for the rest of the world cup.
Rishabh Pant not to have dressing room access?
According to sources, until Rishabh Pant is officially named the replacement of Shikhar Dhawan, he will not officially be a part of the Indian squad and will not have dressing room access on match days.
He will also have to travel separately, as according to ICC’s Anti Corruption rules, only the selected players can travel in the team bus and have dressing room access.
What happened to Shikhar Dhawan?
Shikhar Dhawan was initially ruled out for three world cup matches after he sustained a hairline fracture on his left thumb during his match-winning innings against Australia on June 9. He sustained an injury on the back of his left hand in the region between the index finger and thumb.
The Indian opener is currently being observed by the BCCI medical team. The Indian side’s team management decided to let him stay in England and monitor his progress.
Rishabh Pant is a left-handed middle-order batsman. Despite his good form, he wasn’t picked in the 15-member Indian squad for ICC World Cup 2019. He was named as a standby.
In January 2019, Pant was named the ICC Emerging Player of the Year at the 2018 ICC Awards. The 21-year-old is one of the most talented players in the new generation of players. He has maintained a good form through India’s tours of England and Australia.