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Shikhar Dhawan Shrugs Off Injury Concerns; Hits Nets Ahead of First Test

Baidurjo Bhose |Cricketnext | Updated: January 3, 2018, 4:28 PM IST
Shikhar Dhawan Shrugs Off Injury Concerns; Hits Nets Ahead of First Test

Shikhar Dhawan batting in the nets at the Newlands stadium in Cape Town ahead of the 1st Test. (Courtesy: Baidurjo Bhose/Cricketnext)

Cape Town: In what could be a huge shot in the arm of the visiting Indian team, opener Shikhar Dhawan, who was down with an ankle injury, was seen training full throttle at the Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on Wednesday. There were serious doubts on his fitness and there was a strong belief that third opener KL Rahul would play the match starting on January 5.

As the Indian team walked in for their net session, Dhawan started off with a jog around the picturesque stadium before he ran a few short sprints. After that, he padded up and hits the centre nets after Vijay had a short hit. There was no sense of discomfort as Dhawan drove and cut with ease. There was no hesitancy in his movement as he rocked back on the back foot with ease just like he came forward against the net bowlers.

Shikhar Dhawan taking short sprints during training at Newlands stadium in Cape Town on Wednesday (Courtesy: Baidurjo Bhose)

Speaking to CricketNext, a member in the team management said that Dhawan was fine and wasn't in any pain. But the decision on the playing XI depended on the skipper and coach Ravi Shastri.

"Dhawan is fine and there is no discomfort as he hit the nets today. You can see he is moving freely. But a final call on the playing XI isn't something that I can talk about. That is for the coach and captain to decide," he said.

BCCI later in an official mail confirmed that the southpaw was available for selection. "India opener Shikhar Dhawan is fit and is available for selection for the first Test. Mr. Dhawan had suffered a minor ankle injury before the team's departure to South Africa," the mail read.

In fact, Dhawan had a long chat with chief selector MSK Prasad before hitting the nets. They were discussing strategies with movement of the hands as coach Shastri stood behind the nets and looked at Vijay take strike against the net bowlers.

Shikhar Dhawan had roared back into contention for this big tour with fine performances against Sri Lanka both away from home and during the home series. He has scored two centuries and two half-centuries in his last eight Test innings.

Dhawan though has been found wanting on seam friendly pitches in the past. His average in Test matches outside Asia is a paltry 29.91 in 13 matches and that is something which could be there in the minds of the team management. But given his recent run of form, he could get a nod for the first Test if fully fit.

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First Published: January 3, 2018, 2:12 PM IST

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