India have so far looked the best team followed by England and Australia in the World Cup 2019, said former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday, adding that he is not surprised with opener Shikhar Dhawan being ruled out for the remainder of the showpiece event. Virat Kohli-led India have so far won three of their four games convincingly, with the one against New Zealand being washed out without a ball bowled. In their opener, the Men in Blue beat South Africa by six wickets to follow it up with a 36-run victory over fellow favourites Australia. Against arch-rivals Pakistan in the big-ticket clash, India romped to a 89-run win (D/L method) in a rain-affected tie.
“England is a good team. India has looked the best. Then England, and Australia,” Ganguly said at the launch of Project Life Force, which is a not for profit organisation working in the field of blood donation. India were dealt a body blow during their game against the Aussies when Dhawan picked up a thumb injury, which later turned out to be a fracture. The dashing southpaw smashed 117 off 109 balls in that game, but after the team management decided to assess his condition, it was announced on Wednesday that he has been ruled out as he is not in a position to recover in time for the remaining games.
Young stumper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who was flown in as Dhawan’s cover, was named as his replacement. “I am not surprised that he is ruled out because I saw him in England and he has got a fracture. So, it takes a lot of time,” said Ganguly, who flew down from the United Kingdown. Asked how big a blow is it for the team, Ganguly pointed out that India have enough firepower in the bench and that was on display against Pakistan. “It’s a blow but they beat Pakistan comprehensively. So they are in good form. I hope Shikhar recovers well and recovers soon.”
K.L. Rahul, who opened the batting in place of Dhawan against Pakistan, scored a fluent 57 while all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who replaced him in the XI, took two wickets. Bhuvneshwar Kumar suffered a hamstring injury in that game and was ruled out for three games. Shankar, who was given the ball after Bhuvneshwar pulled his hamstring in the middle of his spell, removed Imam-Ul Haq off his very first ball and later sent back Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed.
“Vijay has done well in the last year or so. Injuries are part and parcel nobody has control on it. Hope others come and do well. I thought Vijay did exceptionally well with the ball in Bhuvi’s absence,” the former India skipper opined. Ganguly expressed confidence that India will make the semis. “This is a good Indian team and they will make it to the semis and we will see what happens.” Ganguly said he will be back in England before India take on the West Indies (June 27) after their game against Afghanistan on Saturday.