India are monitoring the fitness of Vijay Shankar closely after the allrounder was hit on the left foot by a yorker from Jasprit Bumrah during their training session on Wednesday. Vijay did not train full-tilt on Thursday, but Bumrah said Vijay was fit.
On Sunday, Vijay played his first World Cup match, against Pakistan in Manchester. He scored an unbeaten run-a-ball 15 after coming in at No. 6, in the 46th over of India's innings, and was impressive with the ball, taking a wicket with his first ball and bowling 5.2 overs to fill in for the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
With KL Rahul pushed up to open thanks to the injury that has ruled Shikhar Dhawan out of the World Cup, Vijay remains the frontrunner to occupy a middle-order slot in India's remaining matches. His medium-fast bowling could also be handy in conditions with some help for the seamers.
The blow to Vijay's foot occurred midway through his batting session on Wednesday, while facing Bumrah. It was India's first training session ahead of their game on Saturday against Afghanistan, and he had already had a bowl.
On Thursday, Vijay only ambled around training, watching the other players. Towards the end he bowled a few deliveries off a short run-up, but appeared to be walking gingerly.
"We don't want to injure the batsmen but but sometimes in nets when you bowl, nobody tells the batsmen not to hit," Bumrah said, with a smile. "So it was not the aim [to hit Vijay]. Unfortunate he got hit, but he's okay. He's fine. But you have to do your preparation. So best preparation for me is to bowl to batsmen, so I try to do all of that. Sometimes you get hit but that's part and parcel of the game."
India are not training on Friday. It remains to be seen what team they will play against Afghanistan. Dinesh Karthik could potentially replace Vijay if he were to be ruled out. Karthik batted extensively on Thursday, first facing throwdowns in the main ground and then joining the nets.
Vijay will hope the injury is not serious, considering he already had to sit out India's two warm-up games after being hit on the forearm while batting in the nets soon after the squad landed in England. The selectors had spoken of Vijay being the main contender for the No. 4 slot when they named the squad, but it eventually went to Rahul, who scored a century in the warm-up game against Bangladesh. Pushed up to open in the match against Pakistan, he also made a crucial half-century during an opening stand of 136 with Rohit Sharma.