Dean Jones: KL Rahul should open batting in Dhawan's absence

Dean Jones, currently a panellist on Star Sports Select Dugout, says K.L. Rahul should open the batting for India in the injured Shikhar Dhawan's absence.

"K.L. Rahul has the skills and it is a wonderful opportunity to show the world how good he is," says Dean Jones.   -  AP

Succeeding in long tournaments like the World Cup is not just about performing well in matches, but also about squad depth. How good are your replacement players, in case of an injury layoff?

We do not know the full extent of Shikhar Dhawan’s injury yet, but it looks like he will stay with the squad in England. As it stands now, he will miss at least a few matches. In Dhawan’s absence, K.L. Rahul should open the batting – he has the skills, and it is a wonderful opportunity to show the world how good he is. As for the No. 4 spot, my choice would be Kedar Jadhav.

I’ll go with Ravindra Jadeja as the replacement player, especially if it is a brown, dry pitch. Jadeja can whack it with the bat, and he’s a very good bowler and fielder.

READ | Rishabh Pant comes in as cover for injured Shikhar Dhawan

On Dhawan’s injury, if it was really bad, it would have been operated on by now. You can learn how to bat with a broken finger. We’ve all done it. You have equipment specialists now who can fix an extra bit of padding on your gloves. You can also take a little injection to get through the pain.

I'm involved with the design of different safety components – PVC, sweat band – used in batting gloves. Not many guys are pulling out of games with broken fingers these days. The gloves used now are far better than what we used. In my time, you learnt how to bat with a broken finger, and you learnt to put up with the pain. Dhawan is a tough nut, and as an opener, he will be used to getting hit on the fingers.

I get the feeling that if India had the final or semifinal coming up, Dhawan would have played. Perhaps the team management wants to play safe, and look after Dhawan for the latter stages of the tournament.

READ | India sweats over Shikhar Dhawan’s fitness

The Boult threat

In Trent Boult, the Indian top-order faces another concern. Boult is a strike bowler, with a good record against India. You have to be mindful of the ball swinging back in and getting the leg-before decision. I have no doubt that Ravi Shastri would have summoned many left-arm pacers to bowl in the Indian nets. They would have been asked to bring the ball back in with the brand new cherry.

READ | Rain threat looms large over India matches in Nottingham and Manchester

The good news is that Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and every other Indian batsman is in great nick. Apart from the Dhawan setback, everything is going very well for India.

(Tune in to Select Dugout on Star Sports Select 1 on India match days)