Wasim Jaffer believes Team India shouldn’t look past Shikhar Dhawan as an opening option for the upcoming T20 and ODI World Cups just yet. The former batsman feels although Dhawan’s contributions to Indian cricket have been brilliant, the southpaw has been overshadowed by the ‘outstanding’ Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
Wasim Jaffer’s comments come against the backdrop of the first India-Sri Lanka ODI. Dhawan, India’s captain for the game and series, crossed 10,000 runs as an opener across all formats and became the 10th Indian batsman – and second fastest – to surpass 6,000 runs in ODI cricket.
Lauding the 35-year-old veteran, Wasim Jaffer said in a video on his YouTube channel:
“The way the Indian team has come up the ranks in white-ball cricket in the past few years, a lot of credit goes to Shikhar Dhawan as well, even though sometimes his contributions remain in the shadow of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma who are obviously outstanding players. But I think we shouldn’t underestimate Shikhar Dhawan and I see him, at least for a year or two, a contender to play in this T20 World Cup and also the 2023 50-over World Cup.”
Wasim Jaffer added that despite there being a host of contenders for the opening spot for the upcoming T20 World Cup, Dhawan’s towering IPL performances in the last two years have made him a frontrunner. He added:
“You can’t rule out Shikhar Dhawan for the upcoming T20 World Cup. The way he has performed in the IPL in the past two years… even though we know Rohit Sharma is a surety to open, KL Rahul is a candidate, Virat Kohli said he wants to open, Prithvi Shaw is also coming up as a future contender, there are a lot of options. But Shikhar Dhawan shouldn’t be ruled out either in 50-over or T20 internationals.”
Playing for the Delhi Capitals (DC), Dhawan was the second-highest scorer in IPL 2020 with 618 runs at an average of 44.14. He followed it up with a chart-topping 380 runs at 54.29 in the first half of IPL 2021.
Shikhar Dhawan has more hundreds than Sehwag, Gambhir & Yuvraj, experience counts: Wasim Jaffer
Wasim Jaffer further highlighted that Dhawan’s records – including his 17 ODI hundreds which are more than some greats of Indian cricket – speak for themselves. He said Shikhar Dhawan’s experience at ICC events could also come in handy in the coming years. Jaffer signed off by saying:
“He has 17 hundreds in ODIs. And a surprising stat is that he has more ODI hundreds than Virender Sehwag (15), Gautam Gambhir (11) and even Yuvraj Singh (14)… comparisons aren’t a very good thing to do but the numbers speak for themselves. In 140-plus games he has scored over 6400 runs and experience matters a lot. When you got to an ICC event, play at a neutral venue, experience counts.”
Dhawan will be in action during India’s second ODI against Sri Lanka, starting at 3:00 PM IST on Tuesday, July 20.