Team India suffered a massive blow on Tuesday after opener Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of World Cup 2019 for three weeks with a fractured thumb. Dhawan was hit by a delivery from Nathan Coulter-Nile during his wonderful century in the match against Australia at The Oval on Sunday. He batted with a tapped thumb but did not take the field.
It is being said that KL Rahul could open the innings in India’s next match against New Zealand on Thursday with either Dinesh Karthik or Vijay Shankar taking Dhawan’s place. However, in the longer run they will have to look for a replacement for the left-hander. So, who are the contenders?
Rishabh Pant: The Delhi dasher was unlucky not to find a place in the original squad as India preferred the experience of Dinesh Karthik. However, with a spot now open, Pant is likely to get first preference. He has the X-factor that could make the difference in crunch situations. However, Pant lacks the experience on the big stage, which is why he was kept away initially. Also, another question that arises is whether India will risk playing him as a pure batsman, with MS Dhoni having the wicket-keeping duties.
Shreyas Iyer: The young Iyer captained Delhi Capitals in this year’s IPL, and was rather impressive. He did well with the bat as well. There is no doubting his talent as in the few games that he has played for India he has made a mark, with two fifties. However, like Pant, Iyer too lacks big experience on the grand stage. So, will India take the risk of pushing him into such a massive challenge?
Ajinkya Rahane: The Mumbai cricketer should be seen as a dark horse in the list. Rahane may have been out of favour as far as ODIs are concerned in the recent past. But, he has experience and technique on his side. More significantly, if India are looking for a like-to-like replacement, Rahane is a good choice as he has opened the batting for India in the format. His temperament too gives him a slight edge over the youngsters. But, if the management prefers enterprise over solidity, Rahane is bound to miss out.