India v Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali, 5th day March 18, 2013

Injured Dhawan doubtful for Delhi

ESPNcricinfo staff

India opener Shikhar Dhawan, who was Man of the Match for his 187 on debut in Mohali, is unlikely to play the fourth Test against Australia because of an injury sustained in the field. Speaking after his team had taken a 3-0 lead in the series, India captain MS Dhoni said Dhawan "may not play in the next Test. You will get an official word on it."

Dhawan was fielding on the boundary between point and third man during Australia's second innings on the fourth day, and he jammed his left hand into the ground while trying to stop a Phillip Hughes square drive. He did not field for the rest of Sunday and after the day's play was taken to hospital in Chandigarh by the physio Nitin Patel.

The nature of Dhawan's injury had not yet been confirmed, though he said he had "hurt his knuckles", and x-rays suggested it was largely a muscular injury. If the injury persists, Dhawan will be forced to miss the Test in his hometown Delhi, which begins on March 22.

Should Dhawan miss the Test, there is a very strong possibility that rather than call up a replacement opener, the Indian selectors would choose to have Ajinkya Rahane fill in for Dhawan.

Rahane has been a part of the Indian set-up since the 2011-2012 tour of Australia without having played in a single Test despite the fading form of the established opening pair of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, and India losing six out of ten Tests between Boxing Day 2011 and 2012. At the start of the home series against England late last year, though, chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil had said that his panel were considering Rahane to essentially be a middle-order batsman. Dhawan's injury may end up giving Rahane the opportunity to do something other than carry drinks for India in Test matches.