IND vs SL T20s: Make or break series for Shikhar Dhawan: For veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan, despite being the captain on the Sri Lanka tour, the message was far from simple: score runs and even then, he may not have a place in India’s World Cup playing XI. While Shikhar Dhawan did start well in Sri Lanka with an 86 in the 1st ODI against Sri Lanka, the next two games did not go his way. But with the T20 series starting Sunday, it holds the utmost importance for him to force Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri into selecting him ahead of KL Rahul.
In the last 2-3 years, KL Rahul’s stocks in T20s have risen sharply eclipsing Shikhar Dhawan in ICC rankings as well as average. Since January 2019, Shikhar Dhawan has averaged 24.50 while KL Rahul has 36.90, one of the best in the world. Considering that, he is the preferred partner of Rohit Sharma in the T20s with Dhawan playing a backup role as Virat Kohli declared.
IND vs SL T20: Statistical comparison of KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan in T20Is since 2019
However, at the twilight of his career, Shikhar Dhawan hasn’t backed down. He has silenced his critics and has kept the door open with consistently scoring in IPL. In the IPL 2020, he was the second-highest scorer behind KL Rahul while in IPL 2021, he is the top scorer ahead of KL Rahul. But now that a World Cup spot at stake, Shikhar Dhawan understands the importance of scoring runs even if he has nothing else to prove anymore.
IND vs SL T20: Why is KL Rahul preferred option in T20s?
- KL Rahul is currently India’s second-highest-ranked batsman in T20Is.
- Rahul has one of the best averages in T20Is in the last two years with 36.90.
- He is seen as India’s future while Shikhar Dhawan is at the twilight of his career.
- KL Rahul has a superior strike rate of 136.44 compared to Dhawan’s 114.24.
- Rahul is an attacking opener — something that matches Virat Kohli’s vision while Dhawan looks to play a long innings — something that Kohli doesn’t agree with.
“It is very important to score runs. Of course, any international match has its own impact and whenever you perform internationally it makes a huge impact. So, on a personal note, I’m really looking forward to perform over here and make my place more stronger for World Cup contention. Then we’ll see how it goes in the future,” Shikhar Dhawan said at a virtual press conference on Saturday.
IND vs SL T20s: But even after scoring runs, will it be enough? Perhaps not as KL Rahul has continued to score runs in T20 even though he had a rare slump in the England series.
“It’s a curious case. You almost felt like Rahul & Rohit have overtaken him but Shikhar keeps getting runs. So, he keeps the pressure on those two. Look, he has to get runs. I think he will have to put up scores. As a player, you can only do this much. I don’t know how much of a say the performance in Sri Lanka will have in team selection for T20 World Cup, all he can do is put pressure on the guys ahead of him,” Ajit Agarkar said at a virtual presser for the India Tour of Sri Lanka organised by official broadcaster Sony Sports.
IND vs SL T20s: However, after India slumped to a rare defeat in the 3rd ODI against Sri Lanka, Shikhar Dhawan will have to lead from the front and he won’t have any other option but to perform, especially if he still wants to keep pushing for a place in the T20 World Cup squad.