India’s opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan's participation in the Test series opener against South Africa in Cape Town seems doubtful as the southpaw was spotted limping while entering the team hotel in Mumbai on Wednesday (December 27).
Dhawan, who was seen with a heavily strapped left-ankle, has undergone for an MRI scan yesterday. The Delhi lad was also accompanied by physio Patrick Farhart.
“Shikhar Dhawan’s ankle is being assessed. The physio is yet to give any report to the national selectors. As of now, he is travelling with the team. However, it can’t be ascertained whether he will be available for the first Test match or not,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
Shikhar has been in fine form lately and has amassed 550 runs in 8 Test innings since his comeback in the longest format of cricket in July 2017. He was expected to open in Cape Town along with Murali Vijay. However, if he is unable to regain his fitness prior to the first Test, then in-form KL Rahul is likely to open the batting with Vijay.
Over the years it has been observed that the success of a team depends on how well the opening combination fares in foreign conditions. Just a week ago, India’s head coach Shastri had made it clear that Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay will be shouldered with the responsibility to open the batting in South Africa. Shastri had said that the duo bring in a lot of experience and stability.
“You look at experience, you look at variety so that’s what Shikhar brings in, a left hand, a right-hand combination so he is a must. He has got lots of runs. Vijay the most experienced and a very good record overseas and he brings solidity,” Shastri had said while speaking to CNN-News 18.
India will face South Africa in three-match Test series from January 5 at Newlands, Cape Town. The series will be followed by six ODIs and three T20Is.
India Test squad for South Africa series:
Virat Kohli(c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Parthiv Patel, Jasprit Bumrah