Cricket World Cup 2019: Here’s why Shikhar Dhawan may be India’s best bet in batting
- The left-handed Indian opener has an impressive record in one-day international tournaments.
- His average score in series with over five teams spikes, and stands well ahead of India's other major batsmen.
- Dhawan has scored well in English conditions in the past and that may be a confidence booster going into the World Cup.
The left-handed Indian opener's record in global tournaments (World Cup, Champions Trophy, Asia Cup) is remarkable, while his exploits in the 2013 and 2017 editions of the Champions trophy reveal his fondness for English conditions.
Big stage player
Dhawan has represented India is 128 one-day internationals (ODIs), scoring 5355 runs at an average of 44.62, with 16 hundred and 27 fifties. His record looks very different if we only consider big tournaments like the World Cup, Champions Trophy and Asia Cup. In these multilateral tournaments, Dhawan has played 27 ODIs and has scored 1647 runs at an average of 63.34, with 7 hundreds and 6 fifties. His own average improves by 19 runs in these series compared to his average score in all ODIs.
On that count, he even beats the team’s other star batsmen, by a mile.
In the 2015 World Cup, Dhawan, with 412 runs from 8 innings at 51.50, was the team’s highest run-getter in a tournament where the Indian batsmen made their mark before failing to fire during the semi-final loss to Australia. Among his key contributions was 73 against Pakistan in India’s opening match, a breathtaking 137 against South Africa, and a 100 against Ireland.
Dhawan loves England
Dhawan announced himself at the ODI level during India’s 2013 Champions Trophy triumph – where he was selected as the Player of the Tournament on the basis of being the highest run getter. That was on English pitches.
He scored back-to-back hundreds in his first two innings – 114 against South Africa in Cardiff and 102 not out against West Indies at The Oval while amassing 363 runs from 5 matches at an average of 90.75. It is important to note that Dhawan was returning to the one-day fold after close to two-years, and was drafted into the team based on his cavalier Test debut in the home series against Australia.
He was once again the top scorer in the subsequent edition of the Champions Trophy in 2017 scoring 338 runs from 5 matches at an average of 67.60. In the league phase, Dhawan scored 68 in the win against Pakistan, 125 against Sri Lanka in a losing cause, and 78 against South Africa. He then scored 46 runs in an unexpectedly easy semi-final win against Bangladesh. He could not help India get past Pakistan in the summit clash, when he, along with Rohit and Kohli fell to a fiery opening burst by Mohammad Amir.
Watch out for Dhawan as India begin their World Cup campaign on June 5, when they take on South Africa in Southampton.
Ashok Ganguly is a contributor to Business Insider India.