Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of India's T20I and ODI series against New Zealand, after sustaining a shoulder injury while fielding in the final ODI against Australia. Dhawan went off the field immediately, had an MRI scan and did not bat during India's chase in Bengaluru. It is just the latest addition to his recent list of freak injuries, which have put him out of action at crucial points over the past seven months.
June 2019: The World Cup exit
Injured his: Left thumb while batting
Out of action for: Two months
Replaced by: Rishabh Pant
For long, Dhawan has lorded over ICC tournaments, from the Under-19 World Cup and the Champions Trophy to the ODI World Cup. And as he cracked a match-winning hundred in India's league fixture against Australia, all signs pointed to another encore.
However, he took a hit on his left thumb off a Pat Cummins delivery, which resulted in a hairline fracture. India waited on his recovery for a while before naming Rishabh Pant as his replacement. He recovered in time for India's tour of the West Indies in August 2019.
Nov 2019: The freak knee injury
Dhawan was batting in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Delhi against Maharashtra, when his desperate full-length dive to make his ground led to a "deep cut on his left knee". Following a consistent run in the limited-overs sides after the World Cup, this injury ruled him out of contention for the limited-overs series against West Indies.
We Fall, We Break, but then.... We Rise. We heal and we overcome, and the only thing you have control over is how you respond to any situation. Here's to being positive and happy in every situation that life throws at you. Will be back in action in 4-5 dayspic.twitter.com/0XDHRXMSeP— Shikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) November 21, 2019
Jan 2020: The rib-shoulder double whammy
Injured his: Left shoulder while diving on the field
Out of: India's T20Is and ODIs in New Zealand
Replaced by: Sanju Samson (T20Is), Prithvi Shaw (ODIs)
Another ODI against Australia, another Dhawan injury en route to a century. It was Cummins again, bruising his rib cage and forcing the batsman not to take the field that evening. Dhawan was back for the decider though, in Bengaluru, where more misfortune awaited him.
In just the fifth over of the first innings, he fell on his left shoulder while diving to make a stop at cover point, and got up clutching it. By the end of the innings, his shoulder was in a sling and any further part in the game looked bleak. As it has turned out, the injury has ruled him out for at least a few weeks, long enough to miss five T20Is against New Zealand in New Zealand.