Shikhar Dhawan has been called up to replace M Vijay in India’s Test team for the tour of Sri Lanka, it was announced on Monday (July 17).
Vijay, who had suffered a wrist injury during Australia’s tour of India in February-March this year and subsequently underwent surgery, complained of pain in his right wrist while playing a league match in Chennai. The medical team of the Board of Control for Cricket in India therefore advised that the opener should continue with his rehabilitation program.
Vijay has been among India’s most consistent Test batsmen for the past three years, building a reputation for unflappability and achieving success across a variety of conditions and oppositions. He missed the first and third Tests on India’s last tour of Sri Lanka too, in 2015, but made a crucial 82 in the second innings of the second Test at the P Sara Oval which India won to square the series.
Vijay’s injury has reopened the door opened for Dhawan, who has enjoyed a rich vein of form in the 50-over format of late. Dhawan was called up to India’s Champions Trophy squad in place of the injured KL Rahul, and ended up as the highest run-getter in the June tournament with 338 runs in five matches at an average of 67.60 and a strike-rate of 101.80.
He had a reasonable time in the Caribbean after that, with India playing a five-match ODI series and a lone Twenty20 International, making 161 runs in the ODIs.
Dhawan will join a squad that already has two other openers in Rahul and Abhinav Mukund.
India will begin their tour of Sri Lanka with a two-day warm-up match in Moratuwa on July 21 and 22, before the first Test gets underway at Galle on July 26. While the SSC ground will host the second Test from August 3, the third and final Test will be in Kandy from August 12, with five ODIs and a solitary T20I to follow.
India’s Test squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-capt), Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund.