Time for Shikhar Dhawan to score big in the 5th ODI
Shikhar Dhawan has been one of India’s best ODI batsmen in the last few years. Along with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, he is an indispensable part of the Indian top order.
Invariably, at least one of the big three scores the bulk of India’s runs in any series or tournament. In this year’s Asia Cup, in the absence of Kohli, both Dhawan and Rohit successfully carried the team on their shoulders through their astounding batting. Dhawan’s terrific and consistent batting performances in the Asia Cup were a major factor in India being the ultimately crowned as the champions of the tournament.
Loss of form
While Kohli and Sarma have continued to take gigantic strides on their path to greatness, Dhawan has slipped a bit during the ongoing West Indies ODI series. In this series, Kohli has added another feather to his cap by becoming the first Indian batsman to score three consecutive ODI centuries. Rohit, too, has magnified his reputation of scoring daddy hundreds by scoring two 150 plus scores already.
On the other hand, Dhawan has not managed a single fifty in the four matches so far. He has scored a total of only 106 runs, with a highest score of just 38. His strike rate too has been an unimpressive 87, which is quite low since most of these matches have been high scoring affairs.
So, can one then assume Dhawan is under some pressure now to perform in the 5th ODI? It’s true that there is absolutely no doubt about his place in India’s ODI side in the foreseeable future, including that in the world cup.
But he must be acutely aware of the fact that in recent times, his stock in Indian cricket has come down a bit, as he is no longer an all-format player.
His poor returns in the England Test series have more or less ended his career in the longest format of the game. Elsewhere, Sharma’s stock is constantly rising – a case in point being his inclusion in India’s Test squad for the Australian tour.
So, unlike the other two members of India’s big three, Dhawan is only a limited-overs specialist at this moment. This is all the more reason why his performances in this format will be watched even more keenly than those of his two illustrious team-mates. The left-hander is likely to be under more scrutiny as well.
It’s true that Shikhar Dhawan does not need to prove anything after his consistent performances at the international level over the past few seasons. But after an unexpectedly poor run of form in the first four Windies ODIs, he needs to score big in the final ODI to get his confidence. ICC World Cup 2019 is not too far away!