Dhawan can’t be ruled out against Pakistan
Dhawan and his plastered left thumb
Going by the tell-tale signs since Shikhar Dhawan suffered a hairline fracture against Australia on Sunday, the mercurial left-handed opener could be available against Pakistan and in the rest of India’s campaign in the ongoing World Cup.
Hit on his left hand thumb by a bouncer from Aussie paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile at Oval, the initial medical reports ruled him out for three weeks from the bullring. The seriousness of his injury was evident since he sat through and didn’t field during Australia’s innings in the second half.
However, it’s been five days but Shikhar Dhawan has still not been ruled out and continues to be with the Indian team. As his cover, another left-hander, Rishabh Pant from Delhi, has been flown to England as a cover but till Dhawan pulls out, Pant would not be a part of Indian team.
Dhawan’s injury came early in the innings against Australia yet he scored a brave 117 off 109 deliveries, slamming 16 fours, defining that the threshold level of sustaining pain of this determined opener seems high. And maybe, this determination is keeping the optimism of the selectors going and delaying ruling him out from the squad of 16.
India’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar confirmed Pant’s coming to England but quipped regarding Dhawan, “…we will take a call on the status of Dhawan in 10 to 12 days. Until that point, just to make sure that if and when the replacement is required – and I am saying if and when – it is always good to have replacement player (Pant) coming in and practising in the middle-order and obviously him being left hander helps”.
Dean Jones, in his column has opined that if the injury of Dhawan was so serious, it would have been operated upon by now. Calling Dhawan a ‘tough nut’, he says that with special batting gloves, safety bands and a little injection can see him get through the pain.
So, there is optimism in the air about Dhawan’s return. Dhawan has a good record against Pakistan. He scored 114 off 100 balls last time the two teams met in Dubai last year. He enjoys an average of 54.29 and a strike-rate of 102.43 in 7 matches against the arch rivals.
It may be recalled that Sachin Tendulkar played the entire 2003 World Cup with his injured ring finger and his grit and determination saw him emerge as the highest scorer of the tournament with 673 runs. Dhawan also looks no less determined.
Though Dhawan will be missing in Thursday’s tie against New Zealand, the cricket well-wishers are pining hopes that he takes guard on June 16th tie against arch-rival Pakistan, to be played in Manchester. On June 22, India will be facing Afghanistan; followed by a match against West Indies on June 27. India face England on June 30 and followed by Bangladesh (July 2) and Sri Lanka (July 6) in its final two encounters.
While the whole of cricket-loving India would like to see Dhawan playing in the finals on July 14, a tweet by the explosive opener, quoting Rahat Indori, sums up his mental state.
“Kabhi mehak ki tarah hum gulon se udte hain…, kabhi dhuyein ki tarah hum parbaton se udte hain, yeh kainchiyaan humein udne se khaak rokengi, ke hum paron se nahi hoslon se udte hain”
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