Ahead of the Sri Lanka series, former Indian pacer Ajit Agarkar stated that even if India win the series against Sri Lanka 6-0, it won't make any difference to Shikhar Dhawan, and only runs would count. He added that he doesn't think the senior opener has done anything wrong in the shortest format.
The emergence of KL Rahul in T20Is meant that the Karnataka batsman took over the opening slot from Shikhar Dhawan. However, there was a time when, pretty much like ODIs, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma were the regular openers of the side. The veteran Indian opener has done exceedingly well in the last two seasons of the IPL, even bettering KL Rahul. With Rahul losing his spot in the England series, owing to his horror run, the opening slot is up for grabs, and with the Sri Lanka series, Dhawan can again throw his hat into the ring.
Reflecting on the Dhawan situation, Ajit Agarkar opined that he doesn't feel that even winning the series will do any good to Dhawan's spot in T20Is, with runs being the only currency that matters.
“I don’t think the captaincy will change anything. Even if India win this series 6-0, I don’t think it will make a difference to his spot as far as batting is concerned. It’s the runs that will matter,” Agarkar said, reported HT.
Agarkar also reckoned that Dhawan hasn't done much wrong in IPL, and it's just that Rohit and Rahul are presently ahead of him in the pecking order.
“I think he will have to put up scores, especially in T20Is. I don’t think he is doing anything wrong in the IPL. Rohit and KL Rahul are currently ahead of him. Rahul had a pretty average series against England but otherwise, his form has been exceptional in white-ball cricket."
The former Indian pacer also likened Dhawan to an Alto car in the race of high-speed cars to explain his position in different white-ball formats.
“It’s a curious case. In the battle of high-speed racing cars (read T20s) and sustainable vehicles (read Tests), Dhawan was always like an Alto. He used to fulfill most of the Indian team's needs in his own style, making him an indispensable part of the ODI XI but never quite the same in T20Is."
The senior Indian opener has been exceptional for Delhi Capitals in the IPL, especially in the last two editions. He has hammered 998 runs in the 25 innings at a superb average of 47.5 to go with a strike rate of 140.6. Agarkar lauded the southpaws displays in the IPL and asserted that he keeps the Indian openers on their toes.
“Shikhar played the first T20 against England and then was left out for the next four. He came back and had an exceptional IPL. Even in the previous edition, he was superb. He’s not doing anything wrong.
“You almost felt like those two (Rohit and Rahul) had overtaken Shikhar but he keeps getting runs and that puts pressure on the likes of KL Rahul. Don’t think there is any doubt about Rohit’s place in the team, he’s the vice-captain in white-ball cricket. But you can certainly put pressure on Rahul and for that, you will have to score runs and that’s exactly what Shikhar needs to do to get his spot back in the XI,” Agarkar added.
The ODI leg of the Sri Lanka series will mark the beginning of the white-ball series. The first ODI will take place on July 18. The three-match ODI series will be followed by the T20Is.