Shikhar Dhawan is 36 and time is running out for the southpaw and yet he continues to be in the thick of things. At least for now, as BCCI has named him skipper twice in a space of 12 months or so. Back in July 2021, he was named skipper for Sri Lanka tour and now in absence of Rohit Sharma, he was named ODI skipper. All in all, it can be fairly said that he is in the scheme of thing for ODI cricket at least, where India will host the ICC Cricket World Cup in 15 months time.
Meanwhile, with so many openers in the setup like Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Shubman Gill, will not there be any pressure on Delhi southpaw? Former India cricketer and the member of IPL Governing Council, Pragyan Ojha felt that signs are positive for Dhawan’s future, especially after Rohit Sharma’s backing.
“I am seeing the right signs. When you look at a senior player, you have to see ki unke saath kya kiya jaa raha hai. He’s in the mix [for the 2023 ODI World Cup] and now, when the seniors are not there and he’s just playing one format, toh unko kaptaan bhi banaya gaya hai. He’s the captain, the leader of the pack, and the batting which looked rusty in England is now looking better … he’s trying to get into that space. It is clear that Rohit Sharma wants Shikhar kyunki dono ki sajjedaari bhi itni achchi hai …,” he told Cricket Journalist Jamie Alter on Glance.
Only recently, Dhawan and Rohit had combined in the first ODI in England as India knock off the target of 111 runs after a six-for from Jasprit Bumrah. While Rohit went onto score a fifty, Dhawan played second fiddle, giving his captain all the freedom he wanted.
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“They have both done a brilliant job together. I think in world cricket they are third or fourth [sic: fourth highest in ODIs as an opening pair] and Rohit Sharma believes that if someone is consistently performing or has done really well over the years, you can’t just discard him. Rohit definitely gives you that cushion and it’s a good thing, kyunki ICC events ki baat karein toh wahan pe thoda experience zaroor chahiye.”
“Rohit has said this and he is sticking to it. I am confident that Shikhar will be in the mix unless there is some forced change. I think he’s in a pretty good space and he’s fit and that is the benchmark. You can’t just fool around with not being fit. If you see MS Dhoni at 40 or 41, he made a statement where he said that if I am part of a team, I may or may not perform but nobody should be able to tell that MS Dhoni is not fit. If I am fit, if I am running around and doing everything that a young guy can do then I am happy that I am giving my best,” he added.
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