'We talk about Kohli, Rohit but he silently did his job': Ashwin on India player | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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'We talk about Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma but he silently did his job': Ashwin heaps praise on 'stalwart' Shikhar Dhawan

Feb 01, 2023 05:00 PM IST

Dhawan's teammate and India all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin, therefore, heaped praise on Dhawan and said the veteran cricketer, who always bats with a big smile on his face, has been providing the goods for a long time in Kohli and Rohit's shadows.

India played 24 ODIs last year, out of which Shikhar Dhawan featured in 22 - the most. He was also the captain in nine of those, one more than regular captain Rohit Sharma and two more than then vice-captain KL Rahul. Cut to 2023, and the left-handed opener is not even in the ODI squad. He was dropped from the home series against New Zealand. Was Dhawan that bad during that period? He scored 688 runs at an average of 34 in 2022, not bad but slightly below par considering his career average of 44.11. He didn't score a century either.

New Zealand bowler Tim Southee reacts as India's Shikhar Dhawan and Shubhman Gill cross for a run during the 2nd ODI match between India and New Zealand, at Seddon Park, in Hamilton on Sunday. (ANI Photo)(ICC Twitter)
New Zealand bowler Tim Southee reacts as India's Shikhar Dhawan and Shubhman Gill cross for a run during the 2nd ODI match between India and New Zealand, at Seddon Park, in Hamilton on Sunday. (ANI Photo)(ICC Twitter)

The reason why he was getting a longer rope was perhaps the absence of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for the majority of those 24 ODIs. Their workload was being managed as India's focus was on the T20 World Cup. The moment the prolific duo was back and Shubman Gill continued his run-scoring spree in ODIs, there was no space for Dhawan in India's ODI XI. He had lost his place in the Test and T20I sides already and now it appears that the team management has moved on from him even in ODIs.

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This, however, takes nothing away from the player Dhawan has been for India. After Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, he was India's most consistent white-ball batter for close to a decade. His opening partnership with Rohit was one of the most successful ones in world cricket.

Dhawan's teammate and India all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin, therefore, heaped praise on Dhawan and said the veteran cricketer, who always bats with a big smile on his face, has been providing the goods for a long time in Kohli and Rohit's shadows.

"Only when the Top 3 failed, we had problems in the past. Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli. We talk a lot about Rohit and Kohli, but Dhawan is a stalwart. He was silently doing his job. Will his place be a big void to fill for Team India?," Ashwin said on his YouTube Channel.

The emergence of Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan has also made Dhawan's case weak. Both Kishan and Gill have smashed double centuries in ODIs in the last couple of months.

Ashwin talked about the competition at the top of the order and said the focus should be on impact players.

“Should we go back to Shikhar Dhawan, or should we groom Ishan Kishan, who has just scored a double hundred? Instead of backing a player on the basis of one huge score, we should see what the team requires. Which character will deliver under pressure? Which character will serve us for a long time? Ishan Kishan was dropped after a double hundred, but Team India has seen Shubman Gill’s run in the past. He has scored hefty runs and has been the most consistent batter for the team over a period of time. He also plays the slog sweep and the traditional sweep, can cut and pull pacers. Smart batting, quality batting and acceleration towards the end. He accelerated beautifully in the last four overs and hit that 200 in the Hyderabad ODI,” Ashwin added.

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