World Cup 2019: Vijay Shankar ruled out; Mayank Agarwal's inclusion can put pressure on KL Rahul

Published: Jul 02, 2019, 11:06 IST | Harit N Joshi

Pure bat Mayank Agarwal replaces all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who team management said fractured his toe

World Cup 2019: Vijay Shankar ruled out; Mayank Agarwal's inclusion can put pressure on KL Rahul
In this file photograph taken on June 22, 2019, India's Vijay Shankar reacts as he walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between India and Afghanistan at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, southern England. India all-rounder Vijay Shankar has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a toe fracture, the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced on July 1. SAEED KHAN / AFP

Harit N JoshiMysterious are the ways of this Indian cricket team. Vijay Shankar was yesterday ruled out of the World Cup and Mayank Agarwal was called up as his replacement.

According to the BCCI, Vijay sustained "a non- displaced fracture of the left big toe which needs a minimum of three weeks to heal after his condition worsened following the June 27 Match v West Indies."

Vijay Shankar was hit on the toe by a Jasprit Bumrah delivery during a nets session in Southampton, three days before India's match against Afghanistan. However, by Vijay's own admission on the eve of the match, he was fine.

He played that match and also the match against the West indies at Manchester without any visible signs of discomfort.

He did not take part in the optional training session here at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground on the eve of India's match against England. During the press conference on match eve, skipper Virat Kohli had said that Vijay was "close to playing a big knock". On match day, at the toss, Kohli revealed that Vijay was left out as he had a toe "niggle". Despite that niggle or fracture however, Vijay carried drinks in that match.

A request was made to the senior selection committee for a "suitable top- order batsman" as Vijay's replacement and agarwal was the chosen one despite the fact that the Karnataka batsman has not played any limited overs international cricket and was not even in the reserves of the World Cup team. Agarwal IPL form — he scored 332 runs and was the third highest run- getter for Kings Xi Punjab — may have prompted the selectors to name him as Vijay's replacement.

Agarwal's List a record is also impressive — 3,605 runs in 75 matches at an average of 48.71. Of that, he scored 287 runs in four List a matches when india a toured England last year, becoming his team's highest run- getter then.

With agarwal coming in, there will be pressure on opening batsman KL Rahul to convert his starts into big scores or risk losing his place. Rahul has scored just one half century, against Pakistan, which was his first World Cup match as an opener.

Such has been the dynamics of this indian team that except opener Rohit Sharma and skipper Kohli's No. 3 position, none of the other batsmen have any guarantee of their position or place in the side.

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