What’s the story?
Legendary Indian batsman VVS Laxman has backed Shikhar Dhawan to open alongside Rohit Sharma in the upcoming edition of the Champions Trophy. The Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) mentor exuded confidence about the left-hander’s performances in the early stages of the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL).
“I feel that Shikhar should open along with Rohit Sharma. If you remember, he had a big role to play in the last (2013) Champions Trophy win as well. This combination of Dhawan and Rohit is always lethal and puts the bowlers under tremendous pressure.
So, I believe selectors will be watching him closely. And I feel that the kind of rhythm he is in, he's giving a lot of confidence to a lot of people. We, as a franchise, are also very pleased with the way Shikhar has been contributing to the Sunrisers' success so far,” Laxman told India Today.
In the past...
Dhawan and Rohit opened the innings for India in the 2013 Champions Trophy. With two hundred-plus partnerships and two fifty-plus stands, the duo played a key role in helping MS Dhoni’s team lift the trophy.
The heart of the matter
During the 2013 Champions Trophy, Dhawan amassed 363 runs from 5 matches at an average of 90.75 to end up as the tournament’s leading run-scorer. He, along with Rohit, had formed a successful opening pairing for India until this year’s home season. Injuries to both batsmen at various stages, as well as the emergence of KL Rahul, meant that India went in with different combinations at the top of the order in the ODI series against New Zealand and England.
Upon injuring his shoulder in the Test series against Australia, Rahul has all but ruled himself out of the reckoning for the 2017 Champions Trophy. His absence could pave the way for Dhawan to reunite with Rohit as India’s opening combination for the 8-nation tournament which will be held in England & Wales during June.
With 205 runs from 6 games at an average of 34.16, Dhawan has been in reasonable form for SRH at the start of this IPL season. His next assignment will be against Rising Pune Supergiant at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Saturday evening.
In the event of Rahul being unavailable due to injury, Dhawan should open with Rohit in the 2017 edition of the Champions Trophy. Even though India have the option of bringing in younger personnel, they need to persist with the senior duo as there is an inherent necessity for experience at the top of the order.