Shikhar Dhawan's place in the ODI team was never in danger: Sunil Gavaskar
After Shikhar Dhawan’s match-winning hundred against South Africa in a Pool B encounter of the World Cup on Sunday, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said he didn’t think the Indian team was ever considering dropping Dhawan from the playing XI. He added that talk of the Delhi dasher’s place in the side being in jeopardy, if he wasn’t able to find his best form quickly, was merely chatter from the outside.
The 29-year-old had scored just 49 runs from 4 matches at a measly average of 12.25 in the tri-series, involving hosts Australia and England, preceding the World Cup and had also been dropped from the 4th and final Test in Sydney earlier.
The left-hander scored a 146-ball 137, following on from his 73 against Pakistan in their World Cup opener, to help India post a total of 307 for 7 from their 50 overs and beat South Africa in a World Cup match for the first time ever. The bowlers, then, complemented the batting effort brilliantly to bowl the South Africans out for 177 and help the Men in Blue register a 130-run win, their second on the trot.
"There were talks outside. People outside the team were talking about dropping him but the team management never questioned Dhawan's competence. Especially, in the one-day format, Dhawan's place was never in any danger,” Gavaskar told NDTV.
"It was an important knock for the team. Opening the batting, he (Dhawan) laid the foundation. He, along with Virat Kohli, created the platform for Team India to launch the assault on South Africa,” he added.
Mohit Sharma’s fielding a big plus: Gavaskar
The former opener also praised the efforts of the bowlers, specifically Mohit Sharma, who he felt brought an extra element to the team, courtesy his agility in the field along with delivering tidy spells with the ball.
“Mohit has all the varieties as a bowler. He can bowl the slowers, the yorkers and most importantly, is a good fielder. In today's age, you can't be a liability on the field,” he said.
Gavaskar also expressed surprise at the margin of India’s victory, saying that while he did expect India to come good, he didn’t expect MS Dhoni’s men to win in such a convincing manner.
"Never thought it would be a huge win but I was confident that India would do well. After posting a 300 plus score, I thought that India would win by 40-odd runs but to win so huge was unbelievable,” he said.