Hairline fracture puts cloud over Shikhar Dhawan's World Cup

No replacement named, BCCI says the opening batsman will stay with the team and be under observation for the time being

Nagraj Gollapudi
Shikhar Dhawan is likely to miss India's next two matches, against New Zealand and Pakistan, after picking up a hairline fracture on his left thumb. ESPNcricinfo understands that Dhawan - who scored a century in the last match, against Australia - had travelled to Leeds to undergo scans and returned to Nottingham, where the team is stationed, later in the day. In a late afternoon update, a BCCI spokesperson said that Dhawan would stay on in the UK under observation, "and his progress will be monitored".
It is understood that the BCCI wants to wait for an update on Dhawan's likely recovery time before they take a decision on whether to retain him or ask for a replacement. At least three Indian selectors - MSK Prasad (chairman) along with Sarandeep Singh and Devang Gandhi - are travelling with the Indian squad. If a replacement is named, Dhawan can only come back to the squad if another player is injured and the tournament technical committee is satisfied with that replacement.
Dhawan was hit on the left thumb by a Pat Cummins delivery early in his innings of 117 on Sunday. For a while after being hit, he kept taking his bottom hand off the bat when striking the ball, indicating that he was in pain. As the innings progressed, he seemed to have settled down, and played his shots without apparent discomfort. However, he didn't come out to field during Australia's innings and was seen with an ice pack on his left hand in the dressing room.
In Dhawan's absence, India are expected to push KL Rahul up the order to partner Rohit Sharma, and a middle-order batsman - one of Dinesh Karthik and Vijay Shankar, most likely - to slot in lower down.
Whatever happens, Dhawan's loss is a significant blow to India, given his prolific form, particularly in ICC tournaments. In 20 matches across the World Cup and the Champions Trophy, he has 1238 runs with six hundreds and four fifties, averaging 65.15 with a strike rate of 98.25.
In ten World Cup matches, he has scored 537 runs at an average of 53.70 and a strike rate of 94.21. In India's two matches so far in this World Cup, he has made 8 and 117.
Dhawan's absence will also mean India have to go without his very successful partnership with Rohit at the top. The two have put on 4681 runs together in 103 innings, averaging 45.89, the fourth highest by an opening pair in ODI history.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo