Shikhar Dhawan has been in that boat though since July 2021, when he last played a T20I for India against Sri Lanka in Colombo. A quick look at his IPL stats over the past 4 seasons (2019-2022) will show that he has averaged over 34 each season. Indeed since 2015, Shikhar has not had a single IPL season in which he has scored under 400 points.
In November this year he was appointed as the new captain of Punjab Kings IPL franchise.
Why it’s not part of the Indian T20I scheme of things is a separate discussion. The question being asked by some quarters currently after his disappointing performances with the bat in ODI Series 3 against Bangladesh is should Shikhar Dhwan continue to be in the scheme of things as far as Indian ODI cricket is concerned? Remember, ODIs are the only format that Shikhar is chosen to play these days.
A telling sign in Bangladesh’s ODI series was KL Rahul being named substitute captain, when regular skipper Rohit Sharma was ruled out of the third and final ODI with a thumb injury. For a long time, whenever the regular captain was unavailable for an ODI series, selectors and team management made Dhawan captain. But not this time.
This of course was against the backdrop of Shikhar having a great time with the bat in Bangladesh. In 3 innings, he managed to score an impressive 18 runs, with a top score of 8. In October’s home ODI series against South Africa, in which Shikhar was the substitute captain, he scored 25 runs in 3 innings.
Recently, the silver lining for him has been the 3-match ODI series in New Zealand which only saw one match completed. Dhawan batted three times and scored 103 runs, with an average of 34.33 and a top score of 72. He was the fourth-highest run-getter in that series, behind Latham, Iyer and Gill.
So what is Dhawan’s realistic position in India’s ODI pecking order? Ahead of the ODI series against South Africa which India won 2-1, Shikhar himself had said: ‘I don’t know how long I will be playing cricket but right now my biggest aim is to play in the World Cup 2023″.
(Photo by AFP)
Former India captain Anyum Chopra he was recently a guest on the Times of India Sportscast sports podcast and spoke about the importance of keeping someone like Shikhar around, especially with the ODI global highlight – the 50 over World Cup to be played in India next year.
“The fact that he made his intention very clear and was open about it, saying: I want to be there for the ICC World Cup (2023) – can be seen in any light. I see it in a positive light. At least the player is focused and wants to be at the World Cup Look, let’s face it: whether you’re playing the IPL or not, whatever tournament you’re playing, when you know you’re only playing one format and that format comes back once every four years, in the form of World Cup, staying relevant to that format isn’t easy. And (especially) towards the latter part of your career. I’m not saying career end, it’s the latter part of your career. And let’s not forget that from here l ‘India plays the domestic series (two sided) against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia and there is also the IPL and he (Shikhar) is also the captain of his IPL team now so the responsibility will be there on his shoulders’ Anjum Chopra said TOI Sportscast.
2023 ODI World Cup it will only be played at the end of the year, next year. Before that India have a busy schedule, which will see back-to-back home assignments against the likes of Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia. Between these three series, India will play 9 ODIs. It will be very interesting to see what Shikhar Dhawan’s future holds as he enters these two-sided series.
When Ishan Kishan crashed the fastest ever ODI double ton against Bangladesh recently off just 126 balls, many people thought perhaps it was time to look at him as Rohit Sharma’s new opener partner in the ODIs. But is it really a gut reaction what the new selection committee will try to take for someone who has played 167 ODIs for India?
Just a few days ago a BCCI official told PTI, “A call on Shikhar’s future will be made following the appointment of the new selection committee, but the views of coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Rohit Sharma cannot be ignored.”
Dhawan is also the third highest ODI run-getter for India (6793 runs) in the list of active cricketers, behind only Virat Kohli (12471 runs) and Rohit Sharma (9454 runs).
“I think it’s a good balance where Indian recruiters and management can find where they are using his (Shikhar’s) experience, his learnings and what the team requires right now. You can’t just come in with fresh legs, Do you want We hear the phrase all the time – (mix of) youth and experience and I feel indian cricket right now he has youth and experience. So, how we channel that and use that to our advantage is definitely a talking point, which I’m sure the people who are there (managers) will look at. I wouldn’t say Shikhar Dhawan has no place in this lineup. I would still say: keep it around. You should go with the mindset that Shikhar will be right on top, beating for India in a World Cup. This gives positive energy, gives (a) positive look to the team” Anjum Chopra said on TOI Sportscast.
The international cricket calendar has become incredibly busy and relentless these days. Every year almost feels like a World Cup year. From 2019 to 2024 combined, there have been and will be a total of 5 World Cups, in ODI and T20 formats.
With India once again failing to capture that elusive ICC trophy at the T20 World Cup earlier this year in Australia, fan expectations and the pressure it creates will skyrocket at the 2023 ODI World Cup , especially since it will be played in Indian conditions . With these sentiments in mind, how easy or difficult will it be for recruiters to choose the optimal team? And how much string time would they be willing to give some of the senior players?
“With Rohit and Shikhar opening at the top, I don’t see anything wrong with it. These are our conditions, we know them very well. Three games that didn’t go well for Shikhar (in Bangladesh), I agree there will be questions , but then let’s face it – if we have such question marks for players, whether it’s anyone – whether it’s an Ishan Kishan or a Shikhar Dhawan, it’s really unfair. Then we’re just waiting for a player not to say – he shouldn’t be there, rather than waiting for a player to say – look he can add such quality.So I will say Shikhar Dhawan is still an important member in this lineup(India ODI).I would not like to reduce the number of options for Indian cricket ahead of the World Cup, I would like to keep more and more options and the most fluent and fit should try the World Cup,” Anjum said on TOI Sportscast.
(You can listen to TOI Sportscast full episode with Anjum Chopra HERE)