Pant Flies to England But Kapil Dev and Gambhir Feel Rahane or Rayudu are Better as Replacement for Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan suffered an injury during his match-winning knocks against Australia and the Indian opener's further participation has come under considerable cloud, with many reporting that swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been brought in as a cover in the World Cup squad.
Pant's omission from the original squad had become a topic of heated debates given his stupendous form in the past one year, but India's world Cup-wining captain Kapil Dev feels it should be Ajinkya Rahane who should be Dhawan's replacement.
"If Rahane's name is being considered then he should be the first-choice. He should be picked ahead of Pant and Rayudu. Rahane has experience of playing in big tournaments like the World Cup. He can open the batting and also play in the middle order," Kapil Dev was quoted as saying by ABP News.
Rahane is already in England, as he is playing County Cricket for Hampshire, for whom he smashed a century on debut.
Another point to consider will be the fact that, the last time Rahane represented India one-day cricket, was back in February of last year.
While, Sunil Gavaskar said that Pant would be the ideal choice as Dhawan's replacement, the likes of Harbhajan Singh and gautam Gambhir, named their own favourites.
Harbhajan backed Rahane, while Gambhir feels Ambati Rayudu should not be forgotten.
"He [Rahane] is a very good option to be considered. He has been playing cricket here. He is one of the middle order batsmen to rely on. He has got the technique to bat at No.3, No.4. He was one of India's best batsmen at the 2015 World Cup. It would be a bad call to ask him to join the team from here itself. I would still like to see the injury as to how long Shikhar Dhawan is gone. You can straightaway have him in the squad after it heals. You want to be fully fit. Shikhar Dhawan himself won't take a chance. A fracture ideally takes more than 3 weeks," Harbhajan told India Today.
"If Ambati Rayudu doesn't make it as Shikhar's replacement then his career is over. He averages 45 in ODIs and not being part of the World Cup with that average is very disappointing," he told broadcasters Star Sports.
"If he doesn't make it than he should pack his bags and only concentrate on the IPL because his international career is over," he added.
Dhawan though hinted that he might just be fit in time, as he took to social media to post a poem of legendary Urdu poet Rahat Indori.
"Kabhi mehek ki tarah hum gulon se udte hain...Kabhi dhuyein ki tarah hum parbaton se udte hain...Ye kainchiyaan humein udne se khaak rokengi...Ke hum paron se nahin hoslon se udte hain... (Sometimes we are like the fragrance of flowers, sometimes the smoke that comes out of mountains. How can any scissor cut short our flight as we don't fly on wings but courage)," he posted.