Injured all-rounder Vijay Shankar is “hopeful” of playing India’s next World Cup encounter against Afghanistan as the pain inflicted by a Jasprit Bumrah toe-crusher has subsided.

Shankar took a short fitness test, where he was made to do some running and also bowled a few balls under the supervision of physio Patrick Farhart and trainer Shankar Basu. It couldn’t be ascertained whether the management was happy with his progress.

There have been instances in the past where a player, who has attended a pre-match press conference hasn’t made it to the playing XI. Shankar’s responded to queries over his inclusion in monosyllables.

Are you feeling better? “Personally, I’ve got a lot better,” he said. Much better? was a follow-up question and “yeah” was the all-rounder’s response.

The next question was much straighter. Will you be able to play? “Yeah, hopefully,” was all that the Chennai-based all-rounder said.

Bumrah’s yorkers can be lethal and Shankar said he expected that. “Actually, when you play someone like Bumrah, you always expect that. Still, sometimes we do miss that,” the 27-year-old added.

While the team management’s reason for sending Shankar was to send a signal that he is fit and available, a lot will depend on the morning of the game and prevailing conditions, which could change.

If Shankar doesn’t play, it will be a the toss-up between Rishabh Pant, who replaced the injured Shikhar Dhawan and senior wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik. Pant, known for his exciting strokeplay, will be first in the pecking order but Karthik’s experience in a big-ticket tournaments can’t be ignored either.