‘Dropping him would be grossly unfair’ – Aakash Chopra backs Shikhar Dhawan’s selection for South Africa ODIs

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Modified Dec 18, 2021 10:14 PM IST

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Over the years, Shikhar Dhawan has been one of India’s best batters in the 50-over format. However, despite all his achievements, he finds himself in a position where he might be dropped if he does happen to have a bad series against South Africa. With age not on his side, and Ruturaj Gaikwad scoring runs for fun in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021-22, some fans perceive his position in the ODI side to be dicey. However, former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra came out in support of the opener. He felt that the swashbuckling opener needed to feature in the upcoming ODI series against the Proteas.

Dropping him would be grossly unfair': Aakash Chopra backs India star's  selection for SA series; 'He's proven customer' | Cricket - Hindustan Times
Credits: Hindustan Times

The former Indian cricketer was of the opinion that the left-handed batter needed to be persisted with, despite his low returns in the domestic competition. While speaking on his YouTube channel, Chopra lauded the 36-year-old for being a proven performer. The cricketer-turned-commentator also spoke about his phenomenal record in ICC ODI events. 12, 8 (18), 14, 12, and 0 – that’s his last five scores in a high-scoring Vijay Hazare Trophy. Should you select him? I think he should be. Dhawan is India’s proven customer. He has done phenomenally well in One-Day cricket. He is the Mr. ICC. If we look at the 2023 World Cup — if he stays fit — why not?” Aakash Chopra said.

“India hasn’t played much ODI cricket in 2021, so why drop him? Some people had insisted that he should’ve even been selected in the T20 World Cup. Just because Ruturaj is scoring runs, or Iyer can open, or the Rohit-Rahul pair is set. I think dropping him would be grossly unfair,” he added. While speaking about the importance of communicating with him, as he’s a senior player, the 44-year-old said, “If he plays badly, you drop him. But if someone’s doing better, and then you drop him — that’s not fair. If you’re dropping a proven Indian player on a few domestic performances, that would be very unfair.

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“I think he should be in the tour of South Africa”- Aakash Chopra on Dhawan

“I think he should be on the tour of South Africa. If India is looking at a transition at some stage, please have a word with him. Communication is important — especially when you’re fading out a senior player. Do let them know, take them in confidence.” Another important point to be noted is the fact that Dhawan is India’s leading run-scorer in ODIs this year. Moreover, he was India’s captain during the limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka. In 2021, the aggressive opener has scored 297 runs at an average of 59.40.

Will be Grossly Unfair to Drop Shikhar Dhawan From South Africa ODIs: Aakash  Chopra
Credits: News18

Team India hasn’t played an ODI since July and the first-choice senior players haven’t played One-day cricket since March when they last played in a home series against England. The men in blue will be returning to the format after several months in January against South Africa for a three-match series. There are several contenders for the yet unannounced squad under a new white-ball captain for India, Rohit Sharma. The likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Venkatesh Iyer have been the stars of the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy.

While the former continued his run-making form from the IPL and now has slammed for centuries, the latter being an all-rounder has scored two centuries, one fifty going with his eight wickets, and are knocking doors of selection with their consistent performances. However, former India opener Aakash Chopra has said that the experienced left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan should be persisted with, despite his low returns in the domestic competition. Dhawan, who led the second-string Indian team for the Sri Lanka tour, has scored just 58 runs in five games, but Chopra insisted that the 36-year old is a proven performer in the one-dayers and should retain his place for the series against South Africa.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Chopra said, “12, 8 (18), 14, 12 and 0 – that’s his last five scores in a high-scoring Vijay Hazare Trophy. Should you select him? I think he should be. Dhawan is India’s proven customer. He has done phenomenally well in One-Day cricket. He is the Mr. ICC. If we look at the 2023 World Cup — if he stays fit — why not?