New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) Veteran India left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan has admitted that if he was the team selector he would have picked Shubman Gill over him in the ODI squad, saying that the right-handed youngster is in exceptional form right now.
Dhawan made 688 runs in 22 matches in 2022 at an average of 34.40. But his strike-rate dipped from 94.51 from his debut in 2013 until 2021 to 74.21 in 2022. He last played for India in the ODIs against Bangladesh last year.
With Ishan Kishan smashing the fastest ODI double-century against Bangladesh in December last year, and Gill making 624 runs in nine matches, including an ODI double-hundred against New Zealand, so far in 2023, Dhawan wasn’t included in India’s recent series against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia at home.
“When Rohit took over the captaincy he along with (coach) Rahul Dravid backed me enough. 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. 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,” Dhawan was quoted as saying by Aaj Tak.
The 37-year old Dhawan has been one of the most prolific openers for India in the last ten years, being the top-scorer in the side’s run to the 2013 Champions Trophy (363 runs). He continued his great run in the 50-over ICC events through the 2015 World Cup (412 runs), 2017 Champions Trophy (338 runs).
He appeared to be in great nick heading into the 2019 ODI World Cup in England and Wales when he scored a century against Australia. But his tournament was cut short to just two matches due to a fractured thumb sustained in the same match.
Now reflecting on his omission from the Indian ODI squad, Dhawan remarked, “This is not something new in cricket. Or this happened just with me, plenty others have met with the 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 will be next seen in action during IPL 2023, where he will be captaining Punjab Kings. While IPL 2023 starts from March 31, Punjab are scheduled to play their first match of the tournament on April 1, against Kolkata Knight Riders at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.