Reports: Shikhar Dhawan ruled out of Cape Town Test with ankle injury
What's the story?
According to various reports, Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of the opening Test against South Africa due to an ankle injury. As a consequence, Murali Vijay and KL Rahul are reportedly set to open the batting at Cape Town.
Ahead of an important away series, skipper Virat Kohli as well as the team management are understood be disappointed with Dhawan's injury. Nevertheless, the presence of two solid openers are allaying their concerns at the moment.
Even though Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri did not offer any clarification on the extent of Dhawan's injury at their press conference upon arriving at Cape Town, the southpaw's participation for the second and third Test has also been shrouded in considerable doubt.
Prior to India's departure to South Africa, Dhawan was spotted entering the team hotel with heavy strapping on his left ankle. In what could be construed as a case of discomfort, he was reportedly seen limping even as team physio Patrick Farhart accompanied him.
The heart of the matter
A senior BCCI official had confirmed that Dhawan's injury was being monitored closely by the medical staff. The opening batsman subsequent underwent a MRI scan in order to assess the severity of his injury.
Before the left-hander's injury came to light, it is pertinent to note that Shastri had affirmed that Dhawan would open the batting with Vijay. The veteran had alluded to the importance of using a left-right combination at the top of the order.
During India's previous Test series against Sri Lanka at home, Dhawan opened the batting with Rahul in Kolkata before pulling himself out of the Nagpur match due to personal reasons. However, he returned for the third Test in Delhi and replaced Rahul's position in the playing eleven.
The first Test between India and South Africa is scheduled to take place at Newlands Cricket Ground on Cape Town from January 5 to 9. The remaining two matches will be held at SuperSport Park in Centurion and New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
With three in-form openers to choose from, the Indian team management would have been in a dilemma. However, Dhawan's injury should solve the conundrum for the time being. One fervently hopes that the left-hander recuperates quickly and gets back in contention for the last two matches.