Shikhar Dhawan is no more part of the Indian ODI set-up but the left-handed opener has still not given up on his dream of featuring in this year’s 50-over World Cup at home. The 37-year-old last played for India in December 2022 and has lost his spot to the likes of Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan.
Dhawan was India’s second-highest run-getter in ODIs in 2022 but his numbers were not something you would call impressive, especially if you compare them with what he has achieved in this format over the last decade. A strike rate of 74.2 in modern-day cricket is a crime and you can’t blame the management’s decision of moving on from him.
Dhawan’s last century came in the 2019 World Cup. The opening batter didn’t get a hundred in 2020 and 2021 but still operated at an average of above 50 and a strike rate of close to 92. He struggled to get going in ODIs in 2022. He did score 688 runs in 22 innings at an average of 34.4, which doesn’t look too bad, but his strike rate of 74.2 does.
Since his departure, Gill has aced that opening slot, having smashed 1254 runs in his 21-ODI career so far at an average of 73.76 and a strike rate of 109.81. Meanwhile, Kishan too has impressive numbers in this format - 507 runs @ 46.09 and a strike rate of 107.19 - and has emerged as a back-up for Gill and Rohit Sharma.
"They (ups and downs) are part of life. With time, with experience, you learn how to handle them with ease. I find a lot of strength in them. I did my best. If somebody is doing better than my best, that is fine,” Dhawan, who has amassed 6793 in 167 ODIs at an average of 44.11, told PTI.
"That is why that person is there and I am not there. I am very happy and content wherever I am. I make sure my process goes on strong. Of course, there is always a chance of me coming back to the side. If it comes it is good, if it doesn't come that is also good. I have achieved a lot and I am happy with that. Whatever has to come will come. I don't get desperate about it."
Dhawan was recently training at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for 10 days and will soon join the pre-IPL camp with Punjab Kings, whom he will captain in IPL 2023. “My IPL preparation is going on well,” he said.
“I was in Bangalore for 10 days. The focus was on fitness. With the IPL coming up, I will join the camp in Mohali from February 24 and then we regroup again later on and get going. I am in a very good state of mind and looking forward to leading from the front.”