NOTTINGHAM: Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant will join the India team before Sunday’s clash with Pakistan as cover for opener Shikhar Dhawan who will miss the next three to four games with a hand injury, assistant coach Sanjay Bangar said yesterday.
Dhawan’s injury, sustained during his match-winning century against Australia, has forced the twice champions into rejigging a settled lineup after two of their nine group matches.
They remain optimistic, however, of welcoming the southpaw back before the June 30 clash against hosts and tournament favourites England.
Bangar confirmed that back-up opener KL Rahul, who was picked to play at number four, will partner Rohit Sharma at the top of the order starting with today’s match against New Zealand.
“In 10-12 days we’ll be taking a call on the status of Shikhar,” Bangar said after the team’s light practice at Trent Bridge.
“If and when a replacement is required, it’s always good to have the replacement player already in and practising regularly as a standby.”
Like Dhawan, 21-year-old Pant is an aggressive left-hander from Delhi who has played only five one-day internationals, and was pipped by Karthik, who is 13 years older and has a reputation as a calm ‘finisher’.
“He (Pant) bats in the middle order and obviously being a left-hander it helps,” Bangar said.
“It’s always an advantage if you have a right-left combination right at the top of the order,” Bangar said.
All-rounder Vijay Shankar is likely to fill the void created by Rahul’s move up the order but Bangar said the team had other options.