Opener Shikhar Dhawan’s thumb injury during the match against Australia has the Indian team management in a spot of bother at the World Cup 2019. With their next match slated against Pakistan, the focus is to get the team combination right for the most anticipated game of the tournament. But with Dhawan set to miss the tie in Manchester, speculations are on as to when the left-hander will be able to regain full fitness.
Former India captain and opener Sachin Tendulkar, in an exclusive chat with India Today expressed his faith in ‘fighter’ Dhawan, saying that he believes that it’s not necessary to play him at this stage keeping in mind the semis-finals and final where he could be key to India’s success.
Tendulkar also recalled India’s tour to New Zealand in 2009 when he played with a broken finger and believes that if needed, Dhawan can do the same for the team.
“I actually played a whole tour of New Zealand in 2009 with a fractured finger. I remember, in Hamilton in the very 1st match, I took a catch and broke my finger. If you noticed I used to have a huge padding protecting my fingers but I played with a broken finger. I think players learn to play with some discomfort and Shikhar is a fighter and I know he will come back fighting,” said Dhawan.
Sachin said that Dhawan doesn’t need to prove himself anymore as his ICC tournaments record ‘speaks for himself’.
“His numbers speak for himself and he doesn’t need to go out telling the world what he has done in ICC tournaments. All he has to do is get fit, come back and deliver,” said Sachin.
On the question of how players manage such injuries and what should be the team’s approach towards handling such situations, Tendulkar is of the opinion that it’s important to see if Dhawan is comfortable while fielding. If he doesn’t feel pain while catching or fielding, then Sachin feels that India can take the gamble of playing him later in the tournament.
“While batting the thumb is going to jar a bit. But I am worried about fielding and I will leave that to Patrick (Farhart – Team India’s physio) and all, but if he is not fit I don’t want to take that chance of risking playing him. The knock-outs are the most critical part of the World Cup and if he can catch without much pain then only I would gamble on him playing,” said Sachin.
KL Rahul is expected to open the innings with Rohit Sharma against Pakistan. India are currently on the 3rd spot in the points table with 5 points from 3 games after the washout against New Zealand on Thursday.