The unfortunate news of Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan being ruled out of the ICC World Cup 2019 due to a fractured left thumb has left a huge hole at the top of the Indian batting lineup.
Although, in the match against Pakistan, we did see KL Rahul step up to the occasion and form a great 100-run plus opening partnership, the void of the veteran lefty batsman is definitely going to be the most difficult to fill.
Dhawan went down with the injury like a warrior. Having the base of his left thumb cracked, thanks to a deadly bouncer by Pat Cummins early on in the match between India and Australia at The Oval in London, the left-handed batsman went on to play a massive innings worth 117 runs, that not only made him the 'Man of the Match' but also led Team India to win one of the more challenging games of the ongoing tournament.View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Team India (@indiancricketteam) on Jun 9, 2019 at 5:04am PDT
The exit of the southpaw from the world championship got the team selectors in a bit of a fix, as they had to choose between an experienced and sturdy batsman in Ambati Rayudu and zealous and explosive Rishabh Pant. The management decided to go with the latter with the hopes of providing a fresh boost to the middle order.
It is well documented that the only problem with Team India, is the weak and struggling middle order. Before the World Cup began, it was still being managed by former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni but even the Ranchi-born seems to have lost his form off-late.
Whenever India have tasted success while batting in either of the innings, it only comes if the batting partnership in the initial stages of the match is formed. Rohit Sharma and Dhawan have been doing it for years and on Sunday, Sharma and Rahul did it as well.View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Team India (@indiancricketteam) on Jun 16, 2019 at 4:40am PDT
However with some good games against teams with brilliant bowlers like England and West Indies still ahead of them, we can't be certain of a solid opening partnership, especially due to the lack of experience of Sharma and Rahul playing together at number one and two spots, which, by the way, was also evident during their previous fleet against Sarfaraz Ahmed's men.
Under such conditions, Rishabh Pant, who would most probably take the crease as the fourth batsman after Virat Kohli, will be expected to take the lead and put up big numbers on the scoreboard for his side.
An extremely skilled and talented batsman who is a natural hitter, Pant played his last ODI match against Australia on 13th March during which he found himself to be cheaply dismissed (16 runs) at the hands of Nathan Lyon in a losing effort.
The 21-year-old has been put under the microscope and criticised for his inability to stick to the crease for long and play a 50-over innings.
So, when Pant is being brought in to play on the biggest platform there is in international cricket with such little experience, the amount of pressure on his young shoulders has to be immense.View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Rishabh Pant (@rishabpant) on May 28, 2019 at 4:50am PDT
But this is the situation that makes or breaks a player and whenever it is that the Roorkee-born will play for India, be it against Afghanistan on 22nd June or the Windies on 27th June, it will only be his determination and the sheer will to be great, that will guide his performance on the ground.
Here's hoping all the success that Pant deserves and should get this World Cup.