Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant will be sent to England as a cover for Shikhar Dhawan – who suffered a thumb injury during India’s clash against Australia in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 on Sunday.
While the team management is still waiting for the opener’s case to develop so that a more clear picture over his involvement in the World Cup is available, the selectors have suggested Pant as Shikhar’s possible replacement.
Ahead of India’s fixture against New Zealand, assistant coach Sanjay Bangar said that Dhawan is so “precious” that skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri are willing to wait even if the opener is fit for the last league game against Sri Lanka on July 6.
The three selectors – chairman MSK Prasad, Devang Gandhi and Sarandeep Singh – are currently in England and “wanted to announce a replacement straightaway”, PTI reported.
“… But the team management seemed against the idea as a replacement would have meant that Dhawan would practically have no chance of making it if India goes into the semi-finals. Look at his hands. It’s plastered and things are not great,” a BCCI source, privy to the development, told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Regarding Pant, a final decision was made when the selectors convinced the Indian team management saying that they would need a back-up if the situation turns worse.
“He (Pant) bats in the middle-order, and obviously being a left-hander (also) helps. He was named in the stand-by as well. So the team management has gone and picked him for the order,” Bangar said.
The delay in officially announcing Pant as cover even after the team management and selectors had agreed was due to the necessary clearances that the BCCI had to procure from the administrators and office-bearers.
The BCCI logistics team starts functioning once all the approvals are in place. Pant would board a flight to Manchester from Delhi on Thursday.