CWC 2019: Gavaskar, Pietersen bat for Pant’s inclusion if Dhawan gets ruled out, Gambhir wants Rayudu

Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out for two World Cup games and may miss three weeks of action due to a thumb injury.

Shikhar Dhawan's thumb gets examined during the Australia clash | Getty

Batting legends Sunil Gavaskar and Kevin Pietersen want swashbuckling Rishabh Pant to be drafted in India’s World Cup squad if Shikhar Dhawan gets ruled out of the mega event due to a left thumb fracture. On the other hand, Gautam Gambhir reckons Ambati Rayudu deserves to be called in if a situation arrives to replace the left-handed opener.

Dhawan's World Cup 2019 participation has been under the cloud ever since he received a blow on his thumb from a rising Pat Cummins delivery during India’s 36-run win over Australia on Sunday. The southpaw scored a majestic 117 in the match despite playing through pain and with a swollen thumb.

Shikhar is set to miss the next two matches against New Zealand (June 13) and Pakistan (June 16). Possible replacements being talked about are standbys Pant and Rayudu along with India A captain Shreyas Iyer.

"...it has to be Rishabh Pant. He has been in cracking hot form in the IPL. He would probably want to show that he deserved to be in the team in the first place," Gavaskar told India Today.

"But if Shikhar and the doctors say that he can be fit in the next 18 days, then I would wait for him even if it means he sits out of the England game (30 June). Shikhar has shown that his pain threshold is high," he added.

"For your country, you bear the pain, you mentally strengthen and control yourself."

Taking to Twitter, former English batsman Kevin Pietersen also suggested the same. He tweeted: “Shikha OUT the World Cup. Get Pant on the plane ASAP. KL Rahul to open and Pant at number 4...”

Offering a completely different take was Gambhir, who believes Rayudu should be there since he averages 45 in ODIs.

"If Ambati Rayudu doesn't make it as Shikhar's replacement than his career is over. He averages 45 in ODIs and not being part of the World Cup with that average is very disappointing," Gambhir told Star Sports.

"If he doesn't make it then he should pack his bags and only concentrate on the IPL because his international career is over," he added.

 
 

By Salman Anjum - 12 Jun, 2019

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