Shikhar Dhawan hopes to make a comeback into the India ODI setup after his recent omission in the run-up to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup later this year.
A stalwart of India’s white-ball cricket in the past decade, Shikhar Dhawan finds himself away from the ODI setup as the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup approaches.
Dhawan has had a special love affair with 50-over ICC events in the past and has been one of the most consistent performers for India during the marquee events over the last decade.
He was India’s top-scorer at the 2013 Champions Trophy (363 runs), 2015 World Cup (412 runs), 2017 Champions Trophy (338 runs) and appeared to be in great touch heading into the 2019 event in England and Wales.
The southpaw scored a century against Australia early in the event, before his tournament was cut short to just two matches due to a fractured thumb.
Now, the fiery opener now finds himself out of the ODI setup heading into the showpiece event later this year.
Speaking candidly to India news channel Aaj Tak, Dhawan opened up about his omission saying: “This is not something new in cricket. Or this happened just with me, plenty others have met with same fate.
“There are times when you play well throughout the year and then your form drops for one month or two, sometimes that becomes bigger than your performance throughout the year. When a captain, coach and selector take a decision they put plenty of thoughts into it.”
Dhawan had a good showing in 2022, scoring 688 runs in 22 matches at an average of 34.40. However, his strike has come under the scanner, dipping from 94.51 from his debut in 2013 until 2021 to 74.21 in 2022.
That coupled with the emergence of the young blood in Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan, the competition for the openers’ spot and to partner skipper Rohit Sharma at the top of the order has heated up.
Kishan smashed the fastest ODI double-century against Bangladesh in December last year, while Gill has been in imperious form, scoring the most runs for India (624 runs in nine matches, including an ODI double-hundred) so far in 2023.
This has resulted in Dhawan missing out on a place in ODI squads for recent series against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia, with the 37-year-old last featuring for India against Bangladesh in December 2022.
“When Rohit took over the captaincy he along with (coach) Rahul Dravid backed me enough,” Dhawan added. “They told me they wanted me to focus on my cricket and that my vision should be the next World Cup.
“2022 was very good for me, I was consistent in ODIs. But there is this young guy who has been doing well in two formats, and when my form dipped in a series or two then they gave a chance to Shubman and he has lived up to their expectation. We are used to such situations.
“When Ishan Kishan slammed a double century against Bangladesh, then for a moment I thought I could be out of the team.”
Meanwhile, Gill has been exceptional too and Dhawan said he himself would pick Gill over him if he as a selector.
“As I said, he [Shubman Gill] has been playing two formats and performing well in Tests and T20s. He was playing more matches in the international circuit and I wasn’t. So if I was a selector, I would definitely give Shubman the chance.”
The Indian Premier League comes just at the right time for Dhawan, who still hasn’t given up hopes of making the 2023 World Cup squad. Captaining the Punjab Kings, a good tournament with the bat could put Dhawan back in the reckoning in the ODI setup.