Dhawan’s body blow and Yuvraj calling it quits

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  • Ogden Nash

After a professional run-chase against South Africa in the opener, the second match in ICC World Cup saw the ‘Men in Blue’ burying the five-time world champions Australia under a deluge of runs. Shikhar Dhawan’s classy hundred and a quality bowling effort powered India to a 36-run victory over Australia, denying two fallen heroes a fairytale script while sounding a warning bell for their opponents in the World Cup in London on Sunday. The India cricket team and the followers of the game received a serious jolt on Tuesday with ICC tournament specialist and in-form Dhawan being ruled out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 due to sustaining a hairline fracture on his left hand. It is blow to the team ahead of India’s third game against New Zealand. Dhawan will miss the game against New Zealand on Thursday and the marquee clash against Pakistan on Sunday. It remains to be seen if he regains fitness for the match against Afghanistan of June 22 but the team is expecting that he will be fully fit by the business end of the tournament. The team management is thinking about taking a chance that will allow him to recover for the last three league games (against England on June 30, against Bangladesh on July 2 and Sri Lanka on July 6) before gearing for a semi-final, where India are almost certain to feature.

According to reports Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer could be the front-runners as replacement players for Dhawan. KL Rahul is likely to open the innings with Rohit Sharma. With Dhawan’s injury Team India finds itself in a peculiar situation — terribly hard to handle. If India names a replacement for Dhawan then he cannot participate in this World Cup even after his thumb recovers (unless someone else gets injured) and that, of course, is a dent to India’s key strengths in this World Cup: a stable opening pair of Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. The scenario could get even more catastrophic if Dhawan doesn’t heal soon enough. The available replacement in India’s present squad to fill Rahul’s void in the middle are Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik. A timely replacement is a better option than waiting for the opener’s possible recovery.

Another bad news that came during the ongoing World Cup is Yuvraj Singh calling it quits. The hero of India’s 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup win, has called time on his international career, marking the end of an era.  Every major white-ball tournament India ever won in the new millennium had his stamp on it. Starting with the country’s first Under-19 World Cup title in 2000, the 2007 World T20, and of course the 2011 World Cup. In his prime, Yuvraj was more than an impressive middle-order batsman or sharp close-in fielder. His allround ability made him an ODI specialist.  For India, he has been a white-ball cricket legend, and probably the best left-hander India has produced in the middle order. He will be remembered for overcoming twin battle – battle in the cricket field and the battle with cancer.

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