India suffer blow as Shikhar Dhawan ruled out of Cricket World Cup | Sport

India’s World Cup prospects have suffered a setback with the news that opener Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a thumb injury.

Dhawan was injured after being hit by a Pat Cummins delivery during his 109-ball 117 knock against Australia at the Oval. India had hoped that the hairline fracture would not rule out his continued participation but have now asked the ICC to allow Rishabh Pant to replace him in the squad.

His place against Pakistan was filled by KL Rahul, who together with Rohit Sharma posted 136 for the first wicket. India’s game against New Zealand was a wash-out and they next face Afghanistan before matches against West Indies, England and Sri Lanka. They have won all three of their games so far, beating Australia, South Africa and Pakistan but Dhawan’s loss will be keenly felt.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India tweeted: “Shikhar Dhawan has been diagnosed with a fracture of the first metacarpal on his left hand following a ball impact injury during the team’s first match versus Australia at the Oval on 5th June 2019. Following several specialist opinions he will remain in a cast until the middle of July and therefore will not be available for the remainder of CWC19.”

Deep rifts in the Afghanistan camp have emerged after Phil Simmons, the head coach, posted on social media his frustration with the chief selector, Dawlat Dawlat Ahmadzai. Simmons has responded to Ahmadzai blaming the coaching staff for a lack of preparation following five successive defeats at the tournament, including Tuesday’s 150-run demolition by England at Old Trafford.

The 56-year-old former Trinidadian allrounder and West Indies coach, who will leave his role with Afghanistan at the end of the tournament, has taken exception to the claim and has threatened to reveal Ahmadzai’s influence on their underwhelming campaign and particularly the decision to replace Asghar Afghan as captain with Gulbadin Naib in April.

Phil Simmons

Phil Simmons, seen here giving Afghanistan instructions in a training session, will leave his role as head coach after the tournament. Photograph: Aijaz Rahi/AP

“I am in the middle of a World Cup and trying to get our team to perform to the level we expect,” Simmons posted on Twitter. “But at the end of the World Cup I will tell the Afghanistan people about the part that Mr Dawlat Ahmadzai had to play in our preparation and his part in the dismissal of #AsgharAfghan.”

Brain injury association Headway has raised fresh concerns about cricket’s response to head trauma following Afghanistan batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi’s decision to bat on after being hit on the helmet against England.

Hashmatullah turned his back on a 92mph bouncer from Mark Wood during Tuesday’s game at Old Trafford and was immediately felled after impact. The 24-year-old revealed medical staff who assessed him in the middle advised him to leave the field but he declined, batting on for an extended period to top score for his side with 76.

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Peter McCabe, chief executive of Headway, finds it troubling that he was allowed to do so and suggested the decision should not lie with the individual. “These comments are very worrying and again show a distinct lack of understanding about the dangers of concussion, as well as troubling insight into the lack of authority some team doctors seem to have,” he said. “Players need to take the advice of doctors and adhere to the protocols, rather than follow a misguided sense of duty to their team-mates which could result in a serious, possibly lifelong, injury.”

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