India’s opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, who was spotted limping while entering the team hotel in Mumbai on Wednesday (December 27), had certainly left the team management and Indian fans in a spot of bother. There were speculations that the team management might be pondering over a back-up opener in the adverse Proteas conditions.
It has been learnt that the in-form Delhi opener Gautam Gambhir may board the next flight to join the team in Cape Town, where Virat Kohli’s troops are set to play their opening Test against South Africa from January 5.
However, all sorts of guesswork were put to rest on Friday (December 29) when a close source following the development told Sportstar that there is no need to press the panic button as of now.
“There is no such plan at the moment. There is nothing to panic about,” the anonymous source was quoted by Sportstar as saying.
Dhawan has been in fine form of late and has aggregated 550 runs in 8 Test innings since his comeback in the longest format of cricket in July 2017 against Sri Lanka. The left-hander was expected to open in Cape Town along with the experienced campaigner Murali Vijay. However, if he is unable to regain his fitness prior to the first Test, then the young KL Rahul is the most probable candidate 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 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
Jan 05 - Jan 09, 1st Test – Newlands, Cape Town
Jan 13 - Jan 17, 2nd Test – SuperSport Park, Centurion
Jan 24 - Jan 28, 3rd Test – New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Feb 01, 1st ODI – Kingsmead, Durban
Feb 04, 2nd ODI – SuperSport Park, Centurion
Feb 07, 3rd ODI – Newlands, Cape Town
Feb 10, 4th ODI – New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Feb 13, 5th ODI – St George's Park, Port Elizabeth
Feb 16, 6th ODI – SuperSport Park, Centurion
Feb 18, 1st T20I – New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Feb 21, 2nd T20I – SuperSport Park, Centurion
Feb 24, 3rd T20I – Newlands, Cape Town