Despite enjoying a great outing at the ongoing World Cup, injury woes surrounding the Indian unit have become an area of concern for the team management. It all started with Shikhar Dhawan who was ruled out of the showpiece event after sustaining an injury on his thumb. He was soon followed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the latest member to be inducted in the injury list was all-rounder Vijay Shankar.
The team management on Monday confirmed that Shankar had fractured his left toe and will require at least three weeks to recover from the injury, thus ruling him out from the remaining part of the tournament. The team management has also requested the ICC to consider Mayank Agarwal as his replacement.
The first one to fall
Just when things were starting to fall in the right place, the Men in Blue suffered a huge setback as Dhawan sustained an injury on his thumb. The left-handed batsman sustained the injury during his 117-run knock against Australia at The Oval on June 9, which India won by 36 runs. It came as a huge loss as Dhawan has remained a huge asset to the team in ICC events, with three centuries each in Champions Trophy and in World Cup.
Rishabh Pant was roped in as a replacement for Dhawan. The young wicketkeeper-batsman made his World Cup debut against England, in which he scored 32 off 29 balls, after quite a shaky start, much unlike Dhawan’s credence. Eventually, India went to lose the match by 31 runs marking an end to their unbeaten World Cup campaign.
Dhawan’s departure exposing India’s middle-order crisis
After Dhawan’s exit, KL Rahul filled in the opening slot, thus resurfacing the number four riddle. While Rahul has performed decently in the top along with Rohit Sharma, his promotion in the batting order created a vacuum in the middle order. The middle-order comprising MS Dhoni, Kedhar Jadhav, and Shankar have all been subjected to heavy criticism following their below-par show at the World Cup.
Apart from a 52-run knock against Afghanistan, Jadhav has just managed to fetch 28 runs in four matches. Shankar, who impressed with the ball against Pakistan, has also not been up to the mark with the bat. With scores of 15*, 29 and 14, Shankar’s has not been a reliable hand.
Dhoni, on the other hand, has struggled to score freely and has been targetted by the critics for his intent during the clash against England. Batting at an average of 47, Dhoni has managed to score 188 runs in 6 matches but has not been a threat to the opponent due to his slow conversion rate. He along with Jadhav were questioned by several cricket pundits and enthusiasts as India tasted their first defeat in the ongoing World Cup against England.
If there was any team that had the ability to stop India’s winning run. It was England. Dhoni’s approach in the last few overs however was baffling. ??
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) June 30, 2019
Bhuvneshwar or Shami
The team endured another blow when Bhuvneshwar was forced to leave the pitch during the clash against Pakistan in Manchester on June 16. The Indian seamer suffered a hamstring injury after slipping during his followthrough while bowling the fifth over of the match. The bowler has not yet gained 100 percent fitness but the Indian skipper ahead of the match against England stated that Bhuvneshwar is recovering fast.
His replacement Mohammed Shami has been very effective with the ball and has taken 13 wickets in just three matches. After bagging a hat-trick against Afghanistan, Shami also claimed his career-best ODI figures (5/69) in the match against England on Sunday.
Speaking on the selection of seamers once Bhuvneshwar regains fitness, Kohli said, ” Bhuvi is recovering fast” and added that once he regains complete fitness it will be “a bit of a headache for us to see what we’re going to do.” He further stated, “We know that Bhuvi is a world class bowler. Shami in the last year and a half has come around amazingly well. I have never seen (more) fitter and hungry to take wickets. And he knows how to pick wickets. He has that hunger within him.”
The latest induction
Shankar is the latest addition in the injury list after the all-rounder was struck on his left toe by a ball delivered by Jasprit Bumrah during the practice sessions.
“Vijay Shankar sustained a non-displaced fracture of the left big toe, which will require a minimum of three weeks to heal,” the team said in a statement. “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.”
If India want to repeat their 2011 feat, then coach Ravi Shastri and captain Kohli need to fix their batting woes soon. When compared to England, New Zealand, and Australia, the middle order of the Indian unit for the time-being looks quite bewildered. After enduring their first defeat at the ongoing World Cup, the team management have an opportunity to recalculate their winning combination in their penultimate league clash against Bangladesh on Tuesday.