Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant is being flown in to England as a cover for Shikhar Dhawan, who injured his left thumb during India’s match against Australia. Pant would be drafted into the squad if Dhawan is ruled out of the tournament, the Indian Express reported.
Dhawan was hit on the thumb by a rising delivery from pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile but played through pain. Dhawan ensured that Team India won the match comfortably and was adjudged the man of the match for his 117 off 109 balls.
As per reports, Dhawan will be back to full fitness in two to three weeks and could still play in the latter half of the tournament. Dhawan will also be able to play the semifinal, if India make it to the playoffs. Dhawan is being assessed by Team India physio Patrick Farhart and specialists are being consulted right now to get a clear idea on his availability. ICC rules state that a player once replaced cannot be brought back into the squad.
When the India squad for the World Cup was announced, a number of experts and fans had raised questions after selectors gave preference to experience over youth and picked up Dinesh Karthik.
Pant played some thunderous knocks in the recently concluded Indian Premier League season. In the 16 matches, he scored 488 runs to narrowly miss out on the IPL Orange Cap.
Before that, the swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman smashed his career-best knock of 159* in the 4th Test match against Australia, contributing to India s victory. Pant has displayed loads of talent in shorter formats of the game and has the potential of strengthening the middle order with his aggressive style of batting.
India will play their next World Cup game against New Zealand at the Trent Bridge on Thursday. India have won their first two matches and are tied second on the points table.