Mumbai: The recent run in T20s for Shikhar Dhawan has not been great as in 2018 he is yet to score his first T20I fifty. Dhawan’s cautious T20 approach is hurting India as he is not using the power play overs wisely. Former India opener Kris Srikkanth has backed KL Rahul and not Shikhar Dhawan as India’s opener keeping in mind the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. Srikkanth, a former chairman of selectors feels Dhawan is struggling to play his natural game of attack, which in turn is hurting India in the Power play.
In 2019 he played 13 matches, where he has scored 222 runs with a best of 41 which incidentally came in the first T20I in Delhi against Bangladesh which India lost. However, what concerns Srikkanth is the 42 balls which Dhawan consumed to score those runs and feels Rahul is better equipped to partner Rohit Sharma at the top.
Srikkanth wrote his column for the Times of India Thursday which stated,
“As often in the past, India failed to accelerate during Powerplay. Rohit Sharma often makes it up but Shikhar Dhawan does fail to shift gears when required and that has cost the team.”
He added, “what baffles me is the approach of Dhawan. His inability to go out and play his natural game despite being a senior member is hurting the team. I will stick my neck out and field KL Rahul as an opener in this format. Along with Rohit, the team will have two explosive batsmen when field restrictions are in place.”
While talking about Rishabh Pant he thinks, “with Virat Kohli firm at one-drop, I would like to see Rishabh Pant be given an extended (fair) run at four. Let’s face it, the top-four make or break games in T20s. Once we have a settled batsman who is assured of their roles, I am sure India will do well in the World Cup.”
Srikkanth also spoke about the team management’s need to hand Rishabh Pant a longer rope. With MS Dhoni having seemingly retired, the selectors are grooming Pant to be India’s next point person behind the stumps, with stand-in captain Rohit Sharma already in favor of backing the 25-year-old wicketkeeper. Srikkanth explained through an example of his own playing days when he would repeatedly receive the confidence of his captains.
Srikkanth explained, “During my playing days, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar always backed me and told me to go and express myself without worrying too much about my place in the XI.
Whatever little I was able to contribute was because of the confidence they gave me. Similarly, Pant requires that kind of backing. I do understand the logic behind Saha taking over in Test cricket, but Pant should be the primary pick in white-ball cricket. Any comparison to MS Dhoni should stop. It is not doing the youngster any good and players like Dhoni are once in a generation.”