LONDON   -     India’s World Cup campaign has been dealt a huge blow, with opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan facing a spell on the sidelines after sustaining a thumb injury during India’s match against Australia at The Oval. Dhawan, who powered India to a match-winning total of 352 by cracking his 17th one-day hundred, was hit by a short ball from Pat Cummins early in his innings. While he continued to bat without showing too much discomfort, he did not take the field for India’s defence, when he was substituted by Ravindra Jadeja. The 33-year old was sent for scans to determine the extent of his injury at Leeds on Monday, and the report revealed a hairline fracture. KL Rahul, who currently holds the No.4 position, is likely to open the innings in Dhawan’s absence, while Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik will be the front-runners to become new entrants into the Indian middle order. India have chosen not to name a replacement in the squad, with any players removed due to injury unable to return to the fold when they recover. Dhawan has been the bedrock of Indian batting in ICC tournaments for the last six years, scoring six hundreds at these tournaments during this period.

The Delhi batsman topped the overall run charts in the last two editions of the ICC Champions Trophy, in 2013 and 2017, and was India’s leading run-scorer at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2015, with 412 runs from eight innings.

India have won their first two matches, against South Africa and Australia, respectively, and will face New Zealand next, at Trent Bridge on Thursday.