Dhawan sustains thumb fracture, Cup future hangs in balance

NOTTINGHAM: In-form senior India opener Shikhar Dhawan was Tuesday ruled out of at least two World Cup matches after his left thumb was found to have a hairline fracture, dealing a major blow to one of the top title contenders at the showpiece.
The team management was tight-lipped on a possible replacement, which may not even be called if the hairline fracture heals within two weeks.
Dhawan will, however, miss the game against New Zealand on Thursday and the marquee clash against Pakistan on Sunday, a BCCI source told PTI.
It remains to be seen if he regains fitness for the match against Afghanistan of June 22.
Dhawan was the hero of India’s win over Australia on Sunday with a knock of 117 off 109 balls.
He played through pain after being hit on his left thumb by a rising delivery from pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile. He didn’t take the field due to the injury during the clash and Ravindra Jadeja fielded in his place for the entire 50 overs. He underwent scans here in which the fracture came to light.
Dhawan along with physio Patrick Farhart, are currently in Leeds for consultation with specialists, an hour’s drive from Manchester.
The team management and the selectors will decide if a replacement needs to be summoned as they are hoping for his complete recovery for the business end of the tournament.
Since India play Afghanistan on June 22 in Southampton, which is six days after the Pakistan game in Manchester on June 16, Dhawan will get at least 11 days time to recover.
Even if Dhawan misses the Afghanistan game, the next match against West Indies in Manchester is on June 27, which gives him another six days’ time to recover.
The team management is thinking about taking a chance that will allow him to recover for the last two league games (against Bangladesh on July 2 and Sri Lanka on July 6) before gearing for a semi-final where India are certain to feature.
It has been learnt that the tem management is not too keen on a replacement right now unless the doctors rule him out for more than a month.
The Indian team has KL Rahul, a specialist opener who can join Rohit Sharma at the top of the order.
In that case, one among Vijay Shankar or Dinesh Karthik will come in the middle-order for the next two games.
Rishabh Pant and Ambati Rayudu are on BCCI’s official stand-by list but Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer’s name is also doing the rounds as he is a specialist No.4 batsman.
The ICC doesn’t have any specific stand-by list as such and anyone could replace a current player based on approval from the event technical committee. (AGENCIES)
Compounds from scorpion venom may help treat bacterial infections
BOSTON, June 11:
Scientists have discovered two colour-changing compounds in scorpion venom that could help fight bacterial infections such as drug-resistant tuberculosis.
The researchers from National University of Mexico and Stanford University in the US isolated the compounds in the venom of Diplocentrus melici — a scorpion native to Eastern Mexico.
They also synthesised the compounds in the lab and verified that the lab-made versions killed staphylococcus and drug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria in tissue samples and in mice.
The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, highlight the potential pharmacological treasures awaiting discovery in the toxins of scorpions, snakes, snails and other poisonous creatures.
“By volume, scorpion venom is one of the most precious materials in the world. It would costs USD 39 million to produce a gallon of it,” said Richard Zare, who led the research team.
“If you depended only on scorpions to produce it, nobody could afford it, so it’s important to identify what the critical ingredients are and be able to synthesise them,” said Zare.
“The collection of this species of scorpion is difficult because during the winter and dry seasons, the scorpion is buried. We can only find it in the rainy season,” Lourival Possani, a professor at National University of Mexico.
When the researchers milked the venom of D melici — a process that involves stimulating the tail with mild electrical pulses — they noticed that the venom changed colour, from clear to brownish, when it was exposed to air.
They investigated this unusual colour-change, they found two chemical compounds that they believed were responsible. One of the compounds turned red when exposed to air, while the other turned blue.
Using a tiny sample of the venom, researchers were able to work out the molecular structure of the two compounds.
The group confirmed the compounds’ structures when, through much trial and error, they learned how to synthesise them.
The researchers found that the red compound was particularly effective at killing the highly infectious staphylococcus bacteria, while the blue one was lethal to both normal and multi-drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis-causing bacteria.
The team also showed that the blue compound kills tuberculosis bacteria but leaves the lining of the lungs in mice intact.
“The amount of venom components we can get from the animals is extremely low. The synthesis of the compounds was decisive for the success of this work,” Possani said. (AGENCIES)