Rishabh Pant replaces Dhawan in India World Cup squad

India’s Rishabh Pant in action during a match. (AFP pic)

SOUTHAMPTON: Rishabh Pant has been named as a replacement for injured opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan in India’s World Cup squad, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) said on Wednesday.

Dhawan was hit on his thumb by a rising Pat Cummins delivery in the match against Australia but the left-hander batted through pain to hit a match-winning century at The Oval.

India wrote to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and requested for Pant, who was flown in as cover after Dhawan’s injury, to be added to the squad.

“The Event Technical Committee of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 has approved Rishabh Pant as a replacement player for Shikhar Dhawan in India’s squad for the remainder of the tournament,” the BCCI said in a statement.

England has been a happy hunting-ground for Dhawan and assistant coach Sanjay Bangar had said the opener was so “precious” that the team were ready to wait for him to recover.

Dhawan missed the matches against New Zealand, which was washed out, and Pakistan.

“Shikhar Dhawan has been diagnosed with a fracture of the first metacarpal on his left hand…,” BCCI said.

“Following several specialist opinions, he will remain in a cast until the middle of July and therefore will not be available for the remainder of the World Cup.”

In Dhawan’s absence, KL Rahul, originally picked to bat at number four, joined Rohit Sharma in a 136-run opening stand in India’s comprehensive victory against Pakistan.

Dhawan posted a video on Twitter and expressed his disappointment.

“I feel emotional to announce that I will no longer be a part of #CWC19,” the 33-year-old wrote.

“Unfortunately, the thumb won’t recover on time. But the show must go on… I’m grateful for all the love & support from my teammates, cricket lovers & our entire nation.”

Pant has played only five one-day internationals but has won admirers with his six-hitting ability, which prompted many to question the 21-year-old’s exclusion from the original squad.

Dhawan’s absence had left India without a left-hander in their top order and Pant is expected to fill that void.

India have won three of their four games and the other one against New Zealand was washed out.

Virat Kohli’s men play Afghanistan next on Saturday in Southampton.