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Dhawan suffers shoulder injury, out for 'at least seven' days

Sam Curran stood in as Punjab Kings captain in Dhawan's absence against Rajasthan Royals

Shikhar Dhawan just couldn't impose himself on the RCB bowlers, Royal Challengers Bengaluru vs Punjab Kings, IPL 2024, Bengaluru, March 25, 2024

Shikhar Dhawan is set to miss Punjab Kings' next two games, against Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Titans  •  Associated Press

Shikhar Dhawan has a shoulder injury, Punjab Kings coach Sanjay Bangar has confirmed, and could be out of action for a week, possibly, or even more. If it's a week, Dhawan, the designated captain of the team, could miss two IPL 2024 matches, against Mumbai Indians (April 18) and against Gujarat Titans (April 21), both at home in Mullanpur.
Speaking a press conference after Kings' last-over defeat in a low-scoring game against Rajasthan Royals in Mullanpur, Bangar first said Dhawan could be out for "at least a couple of days", and that it could be "at least seven-ten days".
"He's having a shoulder injury, so he is likely to be out for at least a couple of days, I would say," Bangar said. "Having an experienced opener, somebody like Shikhar, who has experience of playing on such wickets, becomes extremely crucial [for the team].
"We have to wait and see how he responds to the treatment. At the moment, it seems that he could be out of action for at least seven-ten days."
In Dhawan's absence, Sam Curran walked out for the toss for Kings, which led to some amount of confusion, since Jitesh Sharma had attended the captains' conference in Chennai prior to the start of the season.
"No, no, he [Jitesh] wasn't the designated vice-captain," Bangar clarified when asked the question. "The impression could have been because he attended the captains' seminar, or meeting, at the start of the IPL. But the thought was always that… because Sam has led the team in the previous year as well; he was late to arrive from UK and he wanted to have a few [training] sessions, that's the reason we couldn't send him to Chennai. Hence Jitesh was sent, because the directive was that a player has to attend.
"It wasn't the case that Jitesh was the stand-in captain. We were very clear in our mind that if at all there had to be an opening, Sam Curran will be taking over and do the job as the captain."
Dhawan hasn't had a spectacular time of it with the bat in IPL 2024, but is Kings' highest run-getter at this stage with 152 runs from five innings, scoring at an average of 30.40 and a strike rate of 125.61. In fact, Kings' struggles with the bat at the top of the innings have contributed in a major way to their lack of wins - they have four losses from six games so far and are down at eighth place on the table.
Jonny Bairstow, Dhawan's opening partner, has had a rough time too, scoring just 96 runs in six innings, while Prabhsimran Singh (119 runs in six innings) and Jitesh (106 runs in six innings) have struggled for consistency and impact also.
On Saturday, with Dhawan out, Kings tried Atharva Taide at the top. He scored 15 runs in 12 balls as Kings put up 38 for 1 in the powerplay on their way to a total of 147 for 8.
"Certainly is a cause for concern that the top order is not making enough runs for us," Bangar said. "They are trying hard - I am not saying that they are not applying themselves - but it's just not coming. Low-scoring games, especially at Mullanpur, the way the wicket is… that also has a factor. Because if you see, some of the scores have been pretty low.
"All the three games that we have played here, in the first six overs, with the new ball, the wicket tends to just jag a little bit, and uneven bounce as well. So maybe that is also a contributing factor because, not only us, the visiting teams and their top order are facing issues."