What's the story?
India’s first-choice opener Shikhar Dhawan is set to miss the final ODI between India and Sri Lanka, and the subsequent T20I, after leaving the side to attend to his ailing mother.
"Shikhar Dhawan would be leaving for India tomorrow i.e. September 3rd to see his ailing mother. Mr Dhawan’s mother is stable and is recovering well at the moment," Amitabh Choudhary was quoted as saying in a BCCI statement.
In case you didn't know...
Ever since making his way back into the Indian team, Dhawan has been in tremendous nick, finishing as the leading run-scorer in the Champions Trophy, that included a 125 against the Lankans at the Oval. He also scored an unbeaten 132 against the same opponents in the first ODI of the ongoing series.
He was also the highest run-getter in the Test series that preceded the 50-over games.
The heart of the matter
With only two games left in the tournament, the BCCI has decided not to include any player as a replacement, with the option of promoting KL Rahul to the opening slot, or bringing in Ajinkya Rahane, who warmed the benches for the first four games.
The 28-year-old Rahane was in superb form in the West Indies ODI series that preceded the Lanka tour, scoring 332 runs from five games at an average of 67.20, the most from either side. He lost out to Rohit Sharma, who returned to the side after being rested for India's short visit to the Caribbean.
India, with a comprehensive 168-run win in the fourth ODI, maintained their clean slate against the hosts, having already whitewashed them 3-0 in the Tests.
They will aim for a clean sweep of the entire tour as they prepare for the final ODI at Colombo and the one-off T20I at the same venue, both scheduled to take place in the space of two days.
In Dhawan's absence, Virat Kohli, having promised to experiment for the fifth ODI, will be compelled to include Rahane, who was in red-hot form before being edged out by Rohit. Also, given that the Chairman of Selectors MSK Prasad had indicated that KL Rahul will bat at number four in the series, the Karnataka batsman is likely to stay in the middle order despite failing in his last three ODIs.
Rightfully, family comes first for Dhawan. He will return to India to be with his mother, who will hopefully recover swiftly.