India national cricket team opener Shikhar Dhawan was deemed unfit to New Zealand for the upcoming five-T20I series after he picked up a shoulder injury during the 3rd ODI against in Bengaluru Australia on Sunday. As a result, Dhawan missed the plane that left for Auckland on Monday.
The 34-year-old fell on his left shoulder awkwardly in a diving attempt to save Aaron Finch’s drive at cover-point in the 5th over. Soon after, he left the field clutching his shoulder, failing to make it to the second innings. Instead, the opener was rushed to a hospital for X-rays during the match.
It was reported by The Hindu that Dhawan had hurt his AC joint on the shoulder. This is a joint between the shoulder blade and collar bone.
The cameras then caught him in the Indian dressing room, the arm in a sling, as India clinched the series 2-1 with a seven-wicket victory in the decider. The T20I series commences on January 24, followed by a three-ODI series from February 5.
While the selectors are yet to name his replacement, here are the four names that can be called in place of Shikhar Dhawan:
1. Sanju Samson
- Sanju Samson remains the most experienced cricketer amongst the four in the T20I format, being the only one with a T20I cap.
- He even played a T20I game against Sri Lanka earlier this month, although the innings didn’t last long as Samson was dismissed on the second ball after hitting a six on the first.
- Samson also has the best IPL 2019 stats amongst the four. The Rajasthan Royals batsman had scored 342 runs, including a century, in 12 matches at an average of 34.20 and a strike rate of 148.69.
- What also works in his favour is the fact that Samson was called up as Dhawan’s replacement in the last year’s West Indies T20I series.
- With question marks over Rishabh Pant’s participation, Samson’s choice makes a lot more sense.
2. Prithvi Shaw
- The selection of Prithvi Shaw as Shikhar Dhawan’s replacement makes a lot of sense.
- The opener has been in hot form ever since returning from injuries, scoring 150 runs off just 100 balls.
- He also scored 202 runs in 179-balls in the Ranji game against Baroda.
- 2019 hasn’t been a great year for Shaw, having suffered plenty of injuries and the doping ban.
- Thus, an opportunity to play for the senior team might well uplift the youngster’s confidence.
3. Shubhman Gill
- One of the country’s top cricket prodigies, Shubman Gill has not really gotten a real opportunity to showcase his talent.
- The 20-year-old, who led India to the 2018 U-19 World Cup, would be a great replacement to Shikhar Dhawan
- Moreover, Gill had made his ODI debut in the Blue colours on New Zealand soil itself, coming in for a suspended KL Rahul. Although he garnered only 16 runs in the two games that he played. Shubhman garnered praise from many, including Sunil Gavaskar for his technique.
- The Punjab cricketer has a great IPL season, where he excelled in the opening role and scored 296 runs at an average of 32.88. He also performed well in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, scoring 163 runs at an average of 40.75.
4. Mayank Agarwal
- Mayan Agarwal would be a more like-to-like replacement for Shikhar Dhawan, having opened the innings with Rohit Sharma in the Test series.
- In the two warm-up matches that he has played, Agarwal has scored 32 and 8 respectively.
- In the 13 T20s he played for KXIP in IPL 2019, Agarwal has managed to score 332 runs at an average of 25.53, his best performance in the tournament yet.
- However, whether he is suited for the T20I format remains to be seen.