Exactly 10 days after he sustained a hairline fracture on his left thumb, Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup with no signs of immediate recovery.
The opener, who joined the Indian team during its practice session here at the Hampshire Bowl on Wednesday and took part in a round of kick football, suffered the injury during India’s game against Australia at the Oval on June 9 after he took a blow from a Pat Cummins delivery. While he played through the pain to score a match-winning century, he was put under observation for 10-12 days.
Indian team manager Sunil Subramaniam confirmed the news on Dhawan while announcing that Rishabh Pant, who is already with the team, has been sought as a replacement.
“Shikhar has a fracture on the base of his first metacarpal on his left hand. Following several specialist opinions, he'll remain in a cast till mid-July which rules him out of ICC World Cup 2019. We've requested for a replacement, we've written to ICC and requested for Rishabh Pant as a replacement,” said Subramaniam.
While the team management was willing to wait for another week for Dhawan to get match-fit, the diagnosis revealed dashed any such hope. The southpaw will return home for further treatment and rehabilitation.
It was the first time that the Indian team has officially admitted to Dhawan sustaining a fracture while it was widely believed to be so when the batsman and physio Patrick Farhart travelled to Leeds from Nottingham the day after the injury to get a scan.
Though they had a back-up opener in K L Rahul, the team didn’t want to lose Dhawan without giving him enough time to recover.
"We want to hold him back, keep him here, because he wants to play. I think that kind of mindset will help in healing the injury as well as he really wants to play," Indian team captain Virat Kohli had said a few days ago.
And given Dhawan’s impressive record in multi-team events, the team management’s decision to stay patient with the Delhiite was understandable. The ICC technical committee’s seal, which is a mere formality, of approval for India’s replacement request is expected anytime.