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Rishabh Pant to join India squad as cover for injured Dhawan

Dhawan underpinned India’s victory over Australia at the weekend.

Shikhar Dhawan will be given every chance to recover from a thumb injury (Nigel French/PA)
Shikhar Dhawan will be given every chance to recover from a thumb injury (Nigel French/PA)

Rishabh Pant will link up with India’s World Cup squad as injury cover for Shikhar Dhawan, who is set to be given “10 to 12 days” to recover from a thumb complaint.

Dhawan underpinned India’s victory over Australia at the weekend with a magnificent 117 off 109 balls at the Oval, where he continued to bat despite taking a blow to his left hand from a Pat Cummins delivery early on.

But the issue is set to have far-reaching consequences and he will be absent for the Trent Bridge clash against New Zealand on Thursday as well as the highly-anticipated showdown with arch rivals Pakistan at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The timescale given by India assistant coach Sanjay Bangar, meanwhile, indicates Dhawan is also likely to miss their fixture against Afghanistan on June 22.

But his status as a “precious player” means he will be given every chance to recover, with KL Rahul set to move up the order to take Dhawan’s spot against the Black Caps.

Bangar said: “As far as Shikhar is concerned, we’ll be observing him, and around the 10th or 12th day, we’ll get to know where he stands.

“We’ll be in a better position to take a call after that because we do not really want to rule out a precious player like Shikhar straight at the time of when the injury happened.

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Shikhar Dhawan made an impressive century against Australia at the weekend (Nigel French/PA)

“We would like to wait and assess after the 10 to 12 days.

“As far as the batting order goes, KL moves up at the top of the order, and there are various options the team management can utilise going into the next game.

“Obviously, Vijay Shankar is going to be an option, and there are a couple of others as well.”

Pant, an explosive wicketkeeper-batsman who, like Dhawan, is a left-hander, was a controversial omission from India’s final 15-man squad, with Dinesh Karthik preferred as back-up to first-choice gloveman Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

We do not really want to rule out a precious player like Shikhar. India assistant coach Sanjay Bangar

But the 21-year-old will now fly to England and join a squad Bangar insists has an array of options at its disposal to cope in the absence of Dhawan.

Bangar added: “(Pant) was named in the standbys, so the team management has gone and picked him for the order. He bats in the middle order, and obviously being a left-hander helps.

“But what is available to us is we have quality players. So Shikhar will definitely be missed in the next three to four games, but we have a great back-up for each position. So with that, we should be able to make it up.”

PA

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