SOUTHAMPTON: Close to the place where players have net practice at Ageas Bowl, a team of paramedics have been present the last few days. It’s a common sight in various grounds across the world. What makes this lot stand out is a wheelchair on which they keep their stuff. When Virat Kohli & Co were having nets on Thursday, someone said it’s appropriate that a wheelchair was around.
A bit farfetched alright, that comment was in good humour nonetheless. Shikhar Dhawan has already been ruled out. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is out for two-three games as of now, with a troubled hamstring and under observation. Now, Vijay Shankar has joined the list of doubtful starters. Struck on the foot by a Jasprit Bumrah delivery at the nets a day earlier, he did not bat or bowl on Thursday. His condition is being assessed and a decision on whether to field him against Afghanistan on June 22 will be taken a day before the game.
When the Indian team was warming up for practice, there were two sets of activities going on. On one side, most of the players were busy with their drills with a football. On the other, Bhuvneshwar and Vijay were running with team physiotherapist Patrick Farhart watching them. After Dhawan getting ruled out with a hand injury, this makes the Indian team a bunch with more injury concerns.
There was no official communication, but it was learnt that Vijay’s injury is not that serious. He was seen running a lap of the ground, which was presumably under the instruction of the physiotherapist, who was otherwise busy with Bhuvneshwar. Significant, however, was the sight of Bhuvneshwar and Vijay on one side and rest of the players on another. Afterwards, Vijay was seen doing strengthening exercises of the arm. He didn’t appear to be in great discomfort.
“What can you do?” said Bumrah when asked by the media about the blow he landed on Vijay’s foot. “At the nets, batsmen try to do everything they would do in a match and play their shots. They also try to hit when I’m bowling. Likewise, as a bowler you try to do the things you want to do in a match. I try to use all my variations and sharpen my skills against the batsmen. It’s unfortunate, but he (Vijay) should be fine.”
With the Indian team not to train on Friday, there will possibly be no way to find out how exactly Vijay is shaping up. Other options like Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant too have had very little time at the nets session, which was cut short by the weather.