The unusual recurrence of India’s openers getting injured before important Test series seems to have resurfaced as Shikhar Dhawan was seen limping at the hotel, with physio Patrick Farhart. Though the gravity of his injury is still unknown—he has taken an MRI—it could be a body blow for the Indians if he sits out of the first Test that begins on January 5.
According to Press Trust of India, the team is keeping its finger crossed. “Shikhar Dhawan’s ankle is being assessed. The physio is yet to give any report to the national selectors. As of now, he is travelling with the team. However, it can’t be ascertained whether he will be available for the first Test match or not,” a senior BCCI official told the news agency.
While they have a ready replacement in KL Rahul, in case Dhawan is ruled out, Dhawan will be missed. For, he not only has prior experience of playing in South Africa, but also has looked in fine touch, since his comeback with a thunderous hundred in Galle last July. He also seemed to have tightened his forward defensive. His ability to score quick runs, a reason India skipper Virat Kohli raves about him and backs him even during his lean patches, will also be missed.
Baffling, though, is the injury jinx of the openers. Murali Vijay had missed the entire Sri Lanka series due to an injury, before Rahul picked another. Rahul, in fact, has missed more Tests than he has played since debuting in the Australia series in 2014-15. At one juncture both Rahul and Vijay were injured and Abhinav Mukund was roped in. If Dhawan’s injury is grave enough, Mukund will be the likeliest to replace him.
The only positive could be that it eases a lot of pressure on Kohli to choose between Dhawan and Rahul.