"They put performances as the main criteria over everything else" - Pakistan wicketkeeper on Shubman Gill-Shikhar Dhawan dilemma
Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal credited Team India for not letting emotions affect their decision to back Shubman Gill as Rohit Sharma's opening partner in ODI cricket.
Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan have been one of the best opening pairs in ODI cricket over the past decade. However, Gill's form over the past 12 months, coupled with Dhawan's decline, meant that India had to make the tough decision of leaving the veteran out of their ODI squad.
Speaking to Paktv.tv, Kamran Akmal heaped praise on the selectors and the team management for giving importance to performance more than anything else. He said:
"Who would have thought that Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan's Jodi (pairing) could be broken? Dhawan has around 20 ODI hundreds while Rohit has 30. These are very big players. Yet, they put performances as the main criterion over everything else and brought Gill in."
India knew they had a backup ready in Shubman Gill: Kamran Akmal
Kamran Akmal also claimed that the Men in Blue weren't in a hurry to drop Shikhar Dhawan even when Shubman Gill was in red-hot form. He feels they gave Dhawan enough opportunities and the respect that he deserved for being a stalwart of India's ODI team for such a long time.
Akmal also lauded the domestic structure of Indian cricket as he felt it had a huge impact in making Gill ready for the international level at such a young age. He stated:
"Look at Shubman Gill's career progression till now. They didn't remove Shikhar Dhawan all of a sudden. They gave him ample chances and when it didn't work out, they knew they had a backup ready, who had done well in the limited opportunities that he has got."
Gill has already played 21 ODIs at just 23 years of age. He has racked up 1254 runs at a stunning average of 73.76 with four centuries, including a double century, and five half-centuries, while striking at 109.80.
Will Gill be able to emulate Dhawan's sensational record at ICC events for India?
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