A depleted Indian side led by Shikhar Dhawan may have lost the T20I series to Sri Lanka, but the visitors have certainly left a positive impression on the host and millions of fans across social media with their gesture.
Despite being plagued with the COVID-19 crisis that left them with a shortage of players, the Indian side decided to continue with the tour. Krunal Pandya tested positive for the virus and was ruled out along with eight other key Indian players, who had come into close contact with him.
With clouds of uncertainty looming over the T20I series, India decided to continue with the remaining players to ensure no financial loss to the Sri Lankan board and, at the same time, preserve the fans’ interests.
India were forced to play six bowlers, and that impacted the balance tremendously.
Shikhar Dhawan, one of the finest openers in the modern game, spoke to the Sri Lankan team about his process and shared words of wisdom with the young and inexperienced players after India’s series defeat.
During the post-match presentation ceremony, Shikhar Dhawan revealed more about his discussions with the Sri Lankan players:
“The Sri Lanka captain and players wanted to know about my process, so I told them, and I hope they enjoyed listening to it.”
Shikhar Dhawan’s Team India hailed by Sri Lankans
With the leading players touring England, the Shikhar Dhawan-led and Rahul Dravid-coached Indian side won plaudits for continuing with the series despite the adversities. Both men also received praise for providing input to a young Sri Lankan side that has struggled to find success off late.
India and Sri Lanka have contested fierce rivalries over the years, with the former gaining the upper hand most of the time. The fans have gone hard at each other. However, the concluded series, which was played in good spirits and saw camaraderie, was change the fans’ perception.
From Rahul Dravid’s pep talk to Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka to ‘role model’ Hardik Pandya gifting his bat to Chamika Karunaratne and also singing the Sri Lankan national anthem to Shikhar Dhawan’s gesture on Friday, the series did change how India-Sri Lanka contests will be viewed from here on.
Several important figures, especially from Sri Lanka, applauded India on social media.