Euro 2020 Special

Dhawan Dropped by India: Is the Veteran’s International Career Finished?

Veteran batter Shikhar Dhawan has been dropped by India for their forthcoming ODI series against Sri Lanka. And that could signal the end of the road for the 37 year old, who has captained India in the ODI format in the recent past, but has been suffering from poor form with the bat.

His chances of being involved in the World Cup which India are hosting next year are looking very slim unless he can rediscover his performance levels again.


Indian squads announced

India will be hosting Sri Lanka in the New Year in white ball cricket, playing three T20Is, followed by three ODIs. The squads for both series have now been announced, and, whilst Dhawan would not have been involved in the T20I series anyway – he has not played the format for his country since last year – his omission from the ODI side is noteworthy.

He led India on their recent ODI tours of Sri Lanka and New Zealand, and was scheduled to do so in Zimbabwe before KL Rahul was parachuted in over his head. However, despite the value of his seniority and experience, he had struggled of late with the bat, and four of his last five ODI innings saw him dismissed for single figure scores.


Strike rate also an issue

It is not only how many runs that Dhawan scores that has become an issue, but also the rate at which he gets them. One of the problems that India have suffered from in all forms of cricket over the recent years is that they are slow starters, putting pressure on the batting order lower down to pick up the pace.

Dhawan is seen as very much part of the problem, not the solution, with a strike rate below what is needed in international cricket.

Meanwhile, India seemed to have discovered better and younger options with the likes of Ishan Kishan, who scored a double century in the third ODI against Bangladesh recently, the fastest ever, and Shubman Gill, who pressed his own claims for a place as a regular starter during the New Zealand tour.

Dhawan’s more measured, pedestrian scoring rate is beginning to look like an anachronism.


ODI Career

If this is the end for Dhawan, he can still look back with pride on his ODI career, having played in 167 matches for India, and scoring 6,793 runs at an average of 44.11. Included in that haul were 17 hundreds and 39 fifties.

Before retiring from the format, he also featured in 34 tests for his country, making 2.315 runs at an average just over 40.


It is not over for the batter

This is not the end per se for Dhawan, even if he may never don an Indian jersey in anger again. He is still heavily involved in the Indian T20 league, and will be leading the Punjab Kings in the 2023 season, having taken over from Mayank Agarwal as skipper.


Other casualties

Dhawan is not the only man to be missing from the ODI squad. Rishabh Pant has been omitted from both the T20I and ODIs squads, and, whilst that gave rise to speculation that he too had been dropped after poor form in both formats, the more prosaic explanation appears to be that he is being given more time to recover from a knee injury.

The selectors evidently feel that he can still come good in white ball cricket.

However, other omissions from the squad include Shardul Thakar, Deepak Chahar, and Sanju Samson, who may consider himself very unlikely to have been axed again. In his last ODI innings for India he scored 284 runs and was not out on five occasions.

Rahul, meanwhile has been replaced as vice-captain by Hardik Pandya in the ODI team. That reflects the fact that Rahul has been having his own struggles with form recently, and it is better for him to concentrate on his batting at this stage of his career.


Rohit returns

However, Rohit Sharma is back to lead the side, having missed the third ODI against Bangladesh after getting injured whilst fielding at slip in the second match in that series, Apart from Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, who was rested for that series, returns to the set-up, and there are also places for fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh.




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