India’s list of the walking-wounded got one more addition as all-rounder Vijay Shankar was ruled out of the World Cup, following a toe-injury he suffered in the lead-up to the England game at Edgbaston here on Sunday.
On Monday morning, Indian team media manager Moulin Parikh texted a message to cricket correspondents, which stated the nature of the wound and added that the ICC’s permission was sought to seek Mayank Agarwal as a replacement. Later in the afternoon, cricket’s governing body approved India's request.
Parikh wrote: “Vijay Shankar sustained a non displaced fracture of the left big toe, which will require a minimum of three weeks to heal. The injury rules him out of the ongoing World Cup. The Indian team management has requested the ICC to consider Mayank Agarwal as his replacement.”
There was much speculation at the toss on Sunday when Virat Kohli revealed that Rishabh Pant would play and mentioned about Shankar having a toe-niggle. There was more clarity after the match concluded with England’s triumph as Rohit Sharma mentioned that the Tamil Nadu player was struck on his toes by Jasprit Bumrah at practice.
Incidentally, Shankar had sustained a similar injury earlier in the tournament but without the fracture, and the perpetrator was Bumrah. However, the niggle did not affect Shankar, who played the contests featuring Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West Indies, and against whom he scored 15 n.o., 29 and 14 respectively. He also got a crucial two for 22 in the face-off involving Pakistan at Manchester’s Old Trafford.
Shankar had stepped into the playing eleven after a left-thumb fracture sidelined Shikhar Dhawan. Subsequently the opener was ruled out and Pant was flown in. Now it is Shankar’s turn to be present in the orthopaedician’s consulting room.
Bumrah is known to test batsmen at the nets and Kohli had said: “What you see him bowling in the match, he bowls exactly like that to us in the nets. He doesn't care who is standing in front of him. He will bounce, he will try to get people bowled, he will york with the new ball and that's the reason for his consistency. In those 15 minutes you have to make sure that you are on top of your game otherwise there can be trouble.”
Back then, the spearhead too was asked about his methods at training and Bumrah replied: “We don't obviously want to injure the batsman. But when we play in the nets, nobody tells the batsman not to hit. He hits you as well. It's unfortunate that he got hit, but he is okay.”
Looks like, the second time around, Shankar wasn’t so lucky. He will get on the return flight to Chennai while Karnataka player Agarwal could become a back-up opener or whatever slot the team-management pencils him in. For now K.L. Rahul will partner Rohit atop the batting tree and Pant is bound to get more fixtures at number four.
But there is a perplexing issue as Ambati Rayudu, who was in the original list of standbys, continues to be overlooked by the think-tank.