The legendary Sachin Tendulkar on Thursday said he expects Shikhar Dhawan to bounce back strongly from the injury setback that has forced him out of the World Cup and backed the opener’s replacement Rishabh Pant to do well. Dhawan was Wednesday forced out of the mega-event owing to a fractured left thumb, an injury that he picked up during the June 9 clash against Australia. The swashbuckler scored a match-winning hundred while playing through pain in that game.

“Feel for you Shikhar. You were playing well & to be injured in the middle of such an important tournament is heartbreaking. I’m sure you’ll come back stronger than ever,” Tendulkar tweeted. Replacing Dhawan in the team is the 21-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Pant, who has impressed one and all with aggressive hundreds during maiden Test tours of England and Australia.

“Rishabh you’ve been playing well & there can’t be a bigger platform to express yourself. Good luck!,” Tendulkar. India will play their next match on Saturday against minnows Afghanistan. The two-time champions are undefeated in the ongoing edition.

Earlier, former India opener Gautam Gambhir has also sent out a heartwarming message for his state-mate Shikhar Dhawan. Gambhir said Dhawan not to feel dejected as it is not the end of the world. He also wished young Rishabh Pant who has been drafted in the team in place of Dhawan.

Gambhir wished the youngster all the best for the tournament. “Disappointed to know that @SDhawan25 will no longer take part in @cricketworldcup, he looked so much a part. My thoughts are with u brotherman but don’t worry not the end of the world. And best wishes to @RishabPant777. I’d urge that we don’t put any undue pressure on Rishabh,” wrote Gambhir.