3 reasons why Shikhar Dhawan can enjoy a good IPL 2023 season for PBKS
Shikhar Dhawan is set to take full-time charge of the Punjab Kings (PBKS) when they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Match 2 of IPL 2023 on Saturday, April 1.
The left-handed opener has been a stalwart in the league ever since breaking onto the scene in its very first season in 2008. Having been handed the reins of the franchise, he will need to be at his best as the Kings set out to make their first playoff appearance since 2014.
While Dhawan compiled 460 runs in the 2022 season at an average of 38.33, his strike rate was a modest 122.66. The free-flowing strokemaker in him went amiss and he will be keen to make a fresh start at the helm of PBKS.
With that in mind, here's a read into three reasons why Shikhar Dhawan might enjoy a good IPL 2023 campaign with the bat:
#1 Exclusion from the Indian team might unshackle Shikhar Dhawan
A white-ball great for India, Dhawan has found himself on the sidelines of the Indian ODI setup with Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan moving up the pecking order. 2022 was a tough year for the veteran southpaw, as he failed to show the kind of fluency that one normally associates with him.
Having said that, this might just free Dhawan up to play without any added pressure. A good IPL 2023 campaign for PBKS is bound to put him back in the mix for the ODI World Cup, but that remains secondary at this point.
He hasn't played a T20 for India since 2021 and is well below the pecking order there. With no pressure on that front, you could just see Dhawan enjoying his batting this season and piling up the runs consistently.
#2 The Mohali wicket is generally batting-friendly
This ought to play into Dhawan's hands at a time when it is believed that he is past his prime. The pitch at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali is renowned for being a batter's paradise conducive to fluid strokemaking.
The 206-game IPL veteran should enjoy these conditions and could well make the most of them. It might just see him bat with a bit of extra freedom in the powerplay, and PBKS will certainly hope that he can sustain a rich vein of form to turn Mohali into a fortress for IPL 2023.
#3 Presence of multiple power-hitters around him
At full strength, PBKS could boast of Liam Livingstone, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma, Shahrukh Khan and Sam Curran in their playing XI for IPL 2023. They also have the hard-hitting Prabhsimran Singh apart from Matthew Short and Sikandar Raza to turn to.
What this does is allow Dhawan to play his natural game of building an innings. Of course, he can take the attack to the opposition when required, but knowing that there are enough power-hitters around him will certainly ease the burden on his shoulders.
It could also buy Dhawan a bit of leeway to ease his way into his IPL 2023 campaign. Don't be surprised if he goes on to show that there is still a lot of gas left in the tank.
Can Shikhar Dhawan inspire PBKS to the IPL 2023 playoffs? Have your say in the comments section below!
Also read: 3 positives for CSK from their loss to GT in IPL 2023
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