World Cup 2019: Who could replace Shikhar Dhawan?

K.L. Rahul — initially picked as the third opener before sealing the No. 4 slot — is likely to move up to accompany Rohit Sharma. The forced change could reopen the No. 4 debate.

Dhawan is set to miss out on three weeks of the World Cup.   -  REUTERS

Shikhar Dhawan's thumb injury — that ruled him out of World Cup 2019 for three weeks — opens another selection conundrum for the Team India management. The opener had just scored a match-winning 117 against defending champion Australia on Sunday.

With 1,101 runs at an average of 64.76 in England, it will be a tough job for any batsman to replicate Dhawan’s heroics in the top order.

READ | Dhawan ruled out of World Cup for three weeks with thumb fracture

In his absence, K.L. Rahul — initially picked as the third opener before sealing the No. 4 slot — is likely to move up to accompany Rohit Sharma. The forced change could reopen the No. 4 debate.

All-rounder Vijay Shankar and specialist batsman Dinesh Karthik have a chance to walk in. Slow left-arm spin bowler Ravindra Jadeja could also be chosen. He is a handy lower-order batsman and an electric fielder.

A decision is likely to be made ahead of the clash against New Zealand in Nottingham on Thursday.

Vijay Shankar

After losing the initial No. 4 slot to Rahul, the Tamil Nadu boy might get a chance to play his maiden World Cup match. He may not have the numbers to back his case. In five ODIs, he scored 165 runs at an average of 33. But there were a couple of fluent 40-plus scores against New Zealand and Australia.

Shankar could also be a handy pacer in the English conditions. PHOTO: AP

 

Vijay is also an athletic fielder and is a handy seamer; suited for English conditions.

Dinesh Karthik

If the team management wants to bolster its line-up with more experience, there is Karthik in the squad. Since July 2017, he has been one of India's effective finishers in the side with 330 runs at an average of 82.50 with seven not-outs to his name.

Karthik has a phenomenal average as a finisher since his comeback into the ODI side in 2017. PHOTO: AP

 

If one rewinds to the Champions Trophy in England six years ago, Karthik had smashed two successive hundreds batting at No. 6 in the warm-ups against Sri Lanka and Australia respectively. But he hadn’t delivered in the main fixtures. The competitive record in England reads grim: 11 innings, 155 runs, one fifty.

Ravindra Jadeja

In the lead up to India's tournament opener, skipper Virat Kohli praised Jadeja saying "he is batting with maturity now.” He scored a fifty in the warm-up amtch against New Zealand when pacer Trent Boult ran through the top order.

Jadeja scored a fighting fifty against New Zealand in the warm-ups. PHOTO: AFP

 

But if Jadeja is in, he is more likely to bat at No. 7. M.S. Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya will be expected to bat higher.

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