June 2, 2023

Rishabh Pant has been roped in as cover for the injured Shikhar Dhawan and is being flown to the UK for the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup. Pant will join the team in Manchester but he’ll only serve as a standby for Dhawan, confirmed the BCCI.

The Indian team management on Tuesday decided to keep Dhawan under observation instead of ruling him out of the World Cup just yet after he sustained a thumb injury on his left hand in the match against Australia, and sought no replacements.

Sanjay Bangar, batting coach of the Indian side, confirmed that Dhawan would need at least 10-12 days before he is reassessed, which means the opener is certain to miss the matches against New Zealand (June 13) and Pakistan (June 16).

Under these circumstances, the Indian team has called up Pant as a back-up to allow him time to acclimatise to the conditions in the UK in the meantime, before a final call on Dhawan’s recovery is taken.

Pant, who also auditioned amongst others as a potential No. 4 for India, had narrowly missed out on a World Cup berth to Dinesh Karthik when India’s 15-man contingent was formally announced in late April, with the selectors showing preferencefor the senior’s superior wicket-keeping skills.

Two days out from the New Zealand game in Nottingham, Dhawan was in Leeds for scans on his injured hand. Owing to his injury, India would now likely have to push KL Rahul to the top of the order, and play a different No. 4 batsman.

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