Sports Cricket 31 Jan 2020 Reasons why India mu ...

Reasons why India must look beyond Shikhar Dhawan for 2020 T20I World Cup

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ARKA ROY CHOWDHURY
Published Jan 31, 2020, 1:38 pm IST
Updated Jan 31, 2020, 8:55 pm IST
India never had a problem in playing in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence and that was evident during the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. With KL Rahul coming in as an opener, India qualified for the semis, despite the opener’s absence. Since KL started opening for India, the right-handed batsman has produced several match-winning performances. (Photo:AFP)
 India never had a problem in playing in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence and that was evident during the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. With KL Rahul coming in as an opener, India qualified for the semis, despite the opener’s absence. Since KL started opening for India, the right-handed batsman has produced several match-winning performances. (Photo:AFP)

Mumbai: With the ICC 2020 T20I World Cup scheduled to start from October 18, India need to sort the 15-member squad, which will be visiting Australia for their second title quest. However, before the side goes for the mega-event, the Virat Kohli-led unit needs to decide its final 15-players.

After Shikhar Dhawan got injured once again, India now must look beyond him as he is at the end of his career, especially, after considering the fact that he is 34 now. Shikhar Dhawan, who is India’s prime opening batsman in the limited-overs format, has sustained three injuries over the course of past seven-months.

The first two injuries kept Dhawan out of action for nearly three-months. Recently, the left-handed opener picked a shoulder injury, which ruled him out of the New Zealand tour.

Hence, keeping his injuries in mind, India must quickly find his possible replacement. Although, India never had a problem in playing in Dhawan’s absence and that was evident during the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. With KL Rahul coming in as an opener, India qualified for the semis, despite the opener’s absence.

During the 2019 World Cup, KL Rahul registered 360 runs at an impressive average of 34.3, including one century and two half-centuries.  Following his performance at the marquee-event, the selectors and team management decided to make him the makeshift opener in the limited-overs format. 

Since KL started opening for India, the right-handed batsman has produced several match-winning performances. In the shortest format, the 27-year-old amassed 1350 runs at an amazing average of 46.50, including two tons and 11 fifties.

And, if we compare Rahul’s T20I career with Shikhar’s, the latter’s profile looks dull. Despite making his T20I debut in 2011, the Indian cricketer has failed to shine in the shortest format. The senior Indian player managed to notch up just 1588 runs at a below par average of 28.33, including 10 fifties.

The Karnataka batsman achieved his phenomenal average in 38 games, while the Delhi batsman recorded the same in 60 matches.

In last two years, the wicket-keeper batsman has been terrific in T20Is, after having amassed 471 runs in 11 innings at an average of 50 plus. Moreover, in those 11 innings, there was six 50 plus scores.

Lastly, if we compare the two cricketer’s IPL performance, it shows that the right-hander’ show has overshadowed Mr ICC’s record in the richest cricket league also.

From 67 matches, the KXIP batsman hit 1977 runs at an incredible average of 42.06, including one hundred and 16 fifties, whereas, the SRH cricketer has 4578 runs at an average of 33.17 from 159 games, featuring a career best 97.

To suffice, it would be safe to say that as a limited-overs’ opener, India definitely need to play KL Rahul in the playing XI, considering that the T20I World Cup is months away and Dhawan’s injury is keeping him sidelined for months.

Nevertheless, Shikhar Dhawan’s experience might come handy, if he manages to stay fit, but with young Rahul performing brilliantly, there’s no doubt that KL will not be in India’s final 15-member World Cup squad.   

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