The BCCI, who accepted Dhawan’s request for leave, haven’t named a replacement for their first-choice opening batsman. © Getty Images

The BCCI haven’t named a replacement for their first-choice opening batsman. © Getty Images

Shikhar Dhawan was released from the Indian squad for the first three matches of the five-game One-Day International series against Australia on Thursday (September 14) to be with his wife Ayesha, who is unwell.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India, who accepted Dhawan’s request for leave, haven’t named a replacement for their first-choice opening batsman.

Schedule
September 17:1st ODI in Chennai
September 21: 2nd ODI in Kolkata
September 24: 3rd ODI in Indore
September 28: 4th ODI in Bangalore
October 1: 5th ODI in Nagpur
October 7: 1st T20I in Ranchi
October 10: 2nd T20I in Guwahati
October 13: 3rd T20I in Hyderabad

Dhawan also missed the final ODI and the lone Twenty20 International of India’s recent tour to Sri Lanka to attend to his mother, who was unwell at the time. Prior to that, Dhawan showed terrific form, scoring three centuries across formats in Sri Lanka.

In Dhawan’s absence, Ajinkya Rahane is likely to partner Rohit Sharma at the top of the order, although India also have the option of promoting KL Rahul. Replacing Dhawan in the last ODI against Sri Lanka, Rahane managed only five runs but was in good form in India’s tour of the Caribbean prior to the trip to the Emerald Isle.

Rahane was the Player of the Series then, having made 336 runs from five ODIs, with one century and three half-centuries. Rahul was tried in the middle-order against Sri Lanka but he struggled, managing only 28 runs from three innings.

India’s first ODI against Australia is on Sunday in Chennai, with the next games to be played in Kolkata, Indore, Bangalore and Nagpur.

Squad for first three ODIs
Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma (vice-capt), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.