India opener Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of the ICC Cricket World for a minimum of three weeks due to the thumb injury he sustained during the India vs Australia game. Dhawan was hit on the thumb by a rising delivery from pacer Pat Cummins during the game. He looked in considerable pain but continued to play and went on hit to score 117 off 109 balls.
Dhawan coming in the form just when he was needed the most was a big relief for team India. However, now with him out of the World Cup for a considerable time, the selectors will have another daunting task of finding his replacement in the squad.
While it is quite certain that KL Rahul will open the innings with Rohit Sharma in the absence of Dhawan, there are a few contenders for the spot in team India’s 15-member World Cup 2019 squad.
The top two probable replacement for Dhawan are Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant. These two are also among the three reserves along with pacer Navdeep Saini. "Rishabh Pant and Ambati Rayudu are the first and second standbys while Saini is the bowler in the list. So if anyone gets injured, as per requirement, one of the three will be going,” an official had said when the reserves were named.
While Rayudu and Pant are tipped as the front runner of Dhawan's replacement, the name of another player Shreyas Iyer can also be considered. Iyer, skipper of IPL frenchise Delhi Capitals, has been in good form for quite some time and is considered among India's top next generation players.
However, as per the ICC rule, if team India calls for Dhawan's replacement, he won't be able to return to the team even if he gets fit.