Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of India’s five-match T20I series against New Zealand, after sustaining a shoulder injury while fielding in the final ODI against Australia. Dhawan went off the field immediately, had an MRI scan and did not bat during India’s chase in Bengaluru. It is just the latest addition to his recent list of freak injuries, which have put him out of action at crucial points over the past seven months.
June 2019: The World Cup exit
Injured his: Left thumb while battingOut of action for: Two monthsReplaced by: Rishabh Pant
For long, Dhawan has lorded over 50-over ICC tournaments, from the U-19 World Cup and the Champions Trophy to the ODI World Cup. And as he cracked a match-winning hundred in India’s league fixture against Australia, all signs pointed to another encore.
However, he took a hit on his left thumb off a Pat Cummins delivery, which turned out to be a hairline fracture. India waited on his recovery for a while before naming Rishabh Pant as his replacement. He recovered in time for India’s tour of the West Indies in August 2019.
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Nov 2019: The “freak knee injury”
Injured his: Left knee while diving to make his groundOut of action for: One monthReplaced by: Sanju Samson (T20Is), Mayank Agarwal (ODIs)
Dhawan was batting in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Delhi against Maharashtra, when his desperate full-length dive to make his ground led to a “deep cut on his left knee”. After a consistent run in the limited-overs sides after the World Cup, this injury ruled him out of contention for the limited-overs series against West Indies.
Jan 2020: The rib-shoulder double whammy
Injured his: Left shoulder while diving on the fieldOut of: India’s T20Is in New ZealandReplaced by: ?
Another ODI against Australia, another Dhawan injury en route to a century. If it was Nathan Coulter-Nile who struck him during the World Cup, a Pat Cummins delivery bruised his ribcage this time around. He did not take the field that evening, but was back for the decider in Bengaluru, where more misfortune awaited him.
In just the fifth over of the first innings, he fell on his left shoulder while diving to make a stop in the inner ring, and got up clutching it. By the end of the innings, his shoulder was in a cast and any further part in the game looked bleak. As it has turned out, the injury has ruled him out for at least a few weeks, long enough to miss five T20Is against New Zealand in New Zealand.