Shikhar Dhawan: The man of the tournament at the Asia Cup, Shikhar Dhawan has a knack of coming good in big events. He had a memorable 2015 World Cup. More significantly, he has an excellent ODI record in England on the back of two wonderful Champions Trophy events over there. The fact that the 2019 World Cup will also be held in the same country augurs well for him. (Photo by Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP)
Shikhar Dhawan: The man of the tournament at the Asia Cup, Shikhar Dhawan has a knack of coming good in big events. He had a memorable 2015 World Cup. More significantly, he has an excellent ODI record in England on the back of two wonderful Champions Trophy events over there. The fact that the 2019 World Cup will also be held in the same country augurs well for him. (Photo by Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP)

Nottingham: In-form senior India opener Shikhar Dhawan was Tuesday ruled out of at least three World Cup matches after sustaining a hairline fracture on his left hand. While it is blow to the team ahead of India's third game against New Zealand, the good news is there is a chance that he will recover and, therefore, the team management has not sought a replacement.

"Team India opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan is presently under the observation of the BCCI medical team. The team management has decided that Dhawan will continue to be in England and his progress will be monitored," Indian team media manager Moulin Parikh posted on official Whats App group.

While earlier it was learnt that Dhawan had suffered a thumb fracture, it has been clarified that the injury is on the back of his left hand. "Dhawan sustained an injury on the back of his left hand in the region between the index finger and thumb during the CWC 2019 league match against Australia," the media manager further stated.

The left-hander along with physio Patrick Farhart, went to Leeds for consultation with specialists earlier Tuesday. Dhawan will miss the game against New Zealand on Thursday and the marquee clash against Pakistan on Sunday. It remains to be seen if he regains fitness for the match against Afghanistan of June 22 but the team is expecting that he will be fully fit by the business end of the tournament.

"As of now, no replacement is being sought. The team management believes that Shikhar is a match winner and should be given every chance to get fit. In fact, his treatment and recovery can happen faster here and team expects him to be back in action," a senior BCCI official, currently in UK, told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

It is learnt that at no point of time any replacement was sought. Even though the names of Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer were doing the rounds, the senior official said that they were mere speculations. "The team management never asked for replacements. I don't know from where the news of Rishabh Pant joining the squad was making rounds. It was speculation by the media," the official added.

Since India play Afghanistan on June 22 in Southampton, which is six days after the Pakistan game in Manchester on June 16, Dhawan will get at least 11 days to recover. Even if Dhawan misses the Afghanistan game, the next match against West Indies in Manchester, which is on June 27, gives him another six days to recover.

The team management is thinking about taking a chance that will allow him to recover for the last three league games (against England on June 30, against Bangladesh on July 2 and Sri Lanka on July 6) before gearing for a semi-final, where India are almost certain to feature. Dhawan was the hero of India's win over Australia on Sunday with a knock of 117 off 109 balls.

The Indian team has KL Rahul, a specialist opener who can always join Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. In that case, one among Vijay Shankar or Dinesh Karthik will come in the middle-order for the next two games. The ICC doesn't have any specific stand-by list as such and anyone could replace a current player based on approval from the event technical committee.

-Kushan Sarkar

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