India on Tuesday put Shikhar Dhawan under observation over a hand injury that could sideline the batsman for at least two weeks at the World Cup.
Dhawan led India to their second win of the 50-over tournament with his 117 against holders Australia on Sunday, but the opener took a hit near the thumb during the innings and didn’t come out to field at the Oval.
Dhawan’s injury is a blow to Virat Kohli’s side, who will play New Zealand on Thursday before taking on arch rivals Pakistan in Manchester on Sunday.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India did not reveal the extent of Dhawan’s injury, but said the left-hander will stay with the team after rumours he would have to be replaced.
“Team India opening batsman Mr Shikhar Dhawan is presently under the observation of the BCCI medical team,” said a BCCI statement.
“The team management has decided that Mr Dhawan will continue to be in England and his progress will be monitored.
“Mr 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 statement added.
Team physio Patrick Farhart is assessing Dhawan’s injury after the batsman was taken to Leeds for detailed scans.
Dhawan suffered the injury as a result of a nasty blow from a rising delivery by Australia paceman Pat Cummins in the early phase of his innings but went on to complete his 17th one-day international century.
Dhawan, however, played no further part in the match after his dismissal, with substitute Ravindra Jadeja taking the field in his place as India comfortably defended their total of 352 for five to complete a 36-run victory.
– Best-case scenario –
He has played 10 World Cup matches since his debut in 2010, scoring 537 runs at an average of 53.70.
Kohli called Dhawan a “world-class” player with a “big-match temperament” after his heroics against Australia.
Meanwhile, rising star Rishabh Pant and Ambati Rayudu are on the BCCI’s official stand-by list in case a replacement for Dhawan is needed.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said Dhawan is a huge asset for the team and should be given every chance to return if his injury heals in time.
“The best case scenario is he is ready in about two weeks time because of the pain threshold he has. Worst case, he will be out for more than 3-4 weeks,” Gavaskar told TV channel ‘India Today’.
“I would wait if the doctor says he will be ready in 15-20 days. Even if he misses the England game, then he still has games against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to get him ready for the knockout stages.”
Gavaskar said wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik can open the innings with Rohit Sharma in Dhawan’s absence.
Reports from India suggest Pant, who missed out on making the 15-man World Cup squad, is expected to fly in as cover for Dhawan.
India will start as favourites in the game against New Zealand in Nottingham despite losing a warm-up match to the Black Caps last month.