The India opener Shikhar Dhawan is officially ruled out of ICC World Cup 2019 after sustaining a thumb injury in the encounter against Australia. The wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant, who has featured in five one-day Internationals for India, will replace him. Rishabh Pant was called by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ahead of the marqee clash against Pakistan to join the team for precautionary measures. In the meantime, he was seen practising with the team, and also cheered from crowd at Old Traffors in Manchester.
The moustache rolling southpaw has often been termed as the man of ICC tournaments, and even in the two games he featured this World Cup, he was looking in dazzling touch. Against the five-time champions, Australia, he even smashed a memorable hundred to set the platform for a big score. His contribution on and off the field will certainly be missed by India. Rishabh Pant, on the other hand, will be playing his first ICC 50-over tournament and will look to utilize his Indian Premier League (IPL) form in the games to come. However, with the playing XI looking settled, it looks highly unlikely that Rishabh will feature from the next game.
On this, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his heartfelt feelings for India's prolific opener. He took to the twitter and said, "Dear Shikhar no doubt the pitch will miss you but I hope you recover at the earliest so that you can once again be back on the field and contribute to more wins for the nation."
Here's the Tweet:
Dear @SDhawan25, no doubt the pitch will miss you but I hope you recover at the earliest so that you can once again be back on the field and contribute to more wins for the nation. https://t.co/SNFccgeXAo— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 20, 2019
Rishabh Pant has scored 93 runs in the four innings, with the highest total of 36 runs against West Indies in the home series. He averages just over 23 in ODI cricket, which isn't anywhere near to his own set standards. Interestingly, India has now four wicket-keepers in the squad - MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, KL Rahul, and Rishabh Pant.
Meanwhile, India will play their next game against the minnows of the tournament, Afghanistan at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. Earlier in the tournament, India played against South Africa at the same ground and emerged as victorious.