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Elimination of Shikhar Dhawan from ICC World Cup 2023: Is this the most unfair decision to avoid “Mr ICC”?

Shikhar Dhawan dropped from ICC World Cup 2023

Is it fair to drop Shikhar Dhawan from ICC World Cup 2023?  The most unanswered question asked among all cricket fans in recent times !!!

The announcement of ICC World Cup 2023 Indian Team squads have been announced and many Indian fans were excited to know that their favorite players were a part of the tournament. Simultaneously, it was shocking to know about the elimination of Shikhar Dhawan from the ICC World Cup 2023 tournament. 

Is it fair to drop Shikhar Dhawan from ICC World Cup 2023
Shikhar Dhawan dropped from the 15-men squad of  ICC World Cup 2023

Shikhar Dhawan, popularly known as “Gabbar”, and “Mr. ICC” marked his ODI debut on 20th October 2010 vs. Australia at Visakhapatnam. The debutant left-handed batsman did not have a good time as he was out for a duck in his first match. 

But Shikhar Dhawan was not demotivated by his inconsistency during the initial phases of his ODI career. He decided not to forfeit his cricketing career on his initial failures by pushing himself beyond the boundaries and trying to overcome all the obstacles to make an achievement. 

On June 6th, 2011, Shikhar Dhawan scored his first ODI half-century against West Indies by delivering a worthy performance of 51 runs in 76 balls ( including 3 fours and 1 six). 

Exactly after 2 years on the same date (June 6th, 2013), Shikhar Dhawan proved himself as one of the most destructive opening batsmen. The left-handed opening batsman smashed his first ODI century against South Africa in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 by playing a blistering knock of 114 runs from 94 balls ( including 12 fours and 1 six). 

One of the interesting facts to be observed here is that Shikhar Dhawan scored his first ODI half-century in 2011 and century in 2013 on the same date- June 6th 

Shikhar Dhawan achieved his first Player of the Tournament award in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 for his brilliant performance. 

The love and support Shikhar Dhawan received from his fans further motivated him to deliver his best performance as an opening batsman by scoring 24 international centuries ( ODI-17 and Test -7 centuries) and 55 international half-centuries ( ODI – 39, T20I-11 and Test- 5 half centuries) 

Shikhar Dhawan is one of the highly skilled Indian batsmen who can score huge runs for his team under challenging situations. The 38-year-old batsman had scored 6,793 runs (till date) in 167 ODI matches and created many sensational records in his career which became the primary reason to be tagged as “Mr. ICC”.

Shikhar Dhawan played his last ODI match against Bangladesh on 10th December 2022 (till date).

Despite creating considerable sensational records and invaluable contributions to the Indian cricket team’s success, it is astonishing to know that a well-talented batsman is eliminated from the list of the 15-men squad.

Disheartened with the BCCI selection committee after the announcement of Indian cricket team squads in the upcoming tournament, Shikhar Dhawan did not openly express his depressed feelings.

Instead, he tweeted by leaving a heart-touching message to all the cricket players included in the ICC World Cup 2023 squad as shown in the below image:

“Mr. ICC misses out on the ICC World Cup 2023”

Exclusion of Shikhar Dhawan from ICC World Cup 2023
Shikhar Dhawan’s Tweet after he was dropped from the World Cup 2023 squad

The above tweet from Shikhar Dhawan wins every fan’s heart all over India.

Before scrutinizing the reasons for the elimination of Shikhar Dhawan from the ICC World Cup 2023, let us have a short glimpse of Shikhar Dhawan’s Performance in international  Career as well as his previous performance in ICC World Cup 2015 and 2019.

Short Glimpse of Shikhar Dhawan’s Performance in His International Career

Here is a short glimpse of Shikhar Dhawan’s career performance in International Cricket that includes Test, ODIs and T20Is:

Stats One Day Internationals (ODIs) Test Matches T20Is
Number of matches played 167 68 34
Highest Score 143 190 92
Wickets Taken  NA NA NA
Centuries 17 7 NA
Half Centuries 39 11 5

Short Glimpse of Shikhar Dhawan’s Performance in ICC World Cup 2015 and 2019

Here is a short glimpse of Shikhar Dhawan’s performance in ICC World Cup 2015 and 2019 to be witnessed by all cricket fans

ICC WORLD CUP 2015 SHIKHAR DHAWAN’s PERFORMANCE: 

Match

Date Runs  Balls Fours Sixes SR(Strike Rate)

Match Result

IND vs PAK

15th February 2015 73 76 7 1 96.05

India won by 76 runs 

IND vs SA

22nd February 2015 137 146 16 2 93.84

India won by 130 runs

IND vs UAE

28th February 2015 14 17 3 0 82.35 India won by 9 wickets

IND vs WI 

6th March 2015 9 14 1 0 64.29

India won by 4 wickets

IND vs IRE

10th March 2015  100 85 11 5 117.65

India won by 8 wickets

IND vs ZIM

14th March 2015 4 20 1 0 20.00

India won by 6 wickets

IND vs BAN 

(Quarterfinals) 

19th March 2023 30 50 3 0 60.00

India won by 109 runs

IND vs AUS

(Semi-Finals) 

26th March 2023 45 41 6 1 109.76

Australia won by 95 runs

ICC WORLD CUP 2019 SHIKHAR DHAWAN’s PERFORMANCE: 

Match Date Runs  Balls Fours Sixes SR(Strike Rate) Match Result
IND vs SA 5th June 2019 8 12 1 0 66.67 India won by 6 wickets
IND vs AUS 9th June 2019 117 109 16 0 107.34 India won by 36 runs
IND vs NZ 13th June 2019 NA NA NA NA NA Match canceled without a toss (due to rain) 
IND vs PAK 16th June 2019 Did not bat Did not bat NA NA NA

India won by 89 runs

(DLS method) 

IND vs AFG 22nd June 2019 Did not bat Did not bat NA NA NA India won by 11 runs
IND vs WI 27th June 2019 Did not bat Did not bat NA NA NA India won by 125 runs
IND vs ENG 30th June 2019 Did not bat Did not bat NA NA NA England won by 31 runs
IND vs BAN 2nd July 2019 Did not bat Did not bat NA NA NA India won by 28 runs

IND vs SL

(Quarterfinals)

6th July 2019 Did not bat Did not bat NA NA NA India won by 7 wickets

IND vs NZ

(Semi-finals) 

9th July 2019  Did not bat Did not bat NA NA NA New Zealand won by 18 runs

 

After glimpsing through the performance of Shikhar Dhawan in the ICC World Cup 2015 and 2019, it becomes clear that the performance of “Mr.ICC” was satisfactory in most of the matches. Shikhar Dhawan scored 2 centuries ( 137 runs and 100 runs)  and 1 half-century ( 73 runs from 76 balls) in the ICC World Cup 2015.

Whereas in ICC World Cup 2019, Shikhar Dhawan scored only 1 century (117 runs from 109 balls) out of 2 matches he played. Unfortunately, Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the tournament that year after facing a severe left-hand thumb fracture, which made him contribute less towards Team India in crucial stages.

Reasons to eliminate Shikhar Dhawan from ICC World Cup 2023 Indian Team Squads

Here are the unanswered facts about Shikhar Dhawan’s exclusion from the 15-men squad of  ICC World Cup 2023:

  1. Apart from Rohit Sharma, A duo of promising stars- Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan have scored double centuries as opening batsmen in recent times, which has enabled them to secure their spot in this grand tournament.
  2. Shikhar Dhawan was placed along with other Grade C players during the selection process – Kuldeep Yadav, Ishan Kishan, and Shardul Thakur, who were active participants in recent matches and delivered consistent performances.
    Dhawan’s inactive contribution to his team in recent series matches paved the way for newcomers to secure their spot in the World Cup 2023.
  3. Shikhar Dhawan usually starts his innings in a slow and steady method by taking time to transform a high innings score, when compared to the young players in the white-ball cricket format. With a bunch of opening options available, the selection committee decided to prefer new talents who could be the quick and best-scoring opening batsmen for Team India.
  4. Even in the absence of Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan, the selectors have decided to prefer an alternative option of KL Rahul and Ruturaj Gaikwad who can score quick runs for their team.
  5. In recent times, the selection committee has prioritized players who can deliver outstanding performance in both batting and fielding.
    By keeping this aspect in mind, the selectors have decided to prefer young talented cricketers, who can score and save more runs for their team in terms of batting and fielding.
    This strategy can sometimes prove to be threatening for a 38-year-old cricketer to secure his spot in the team, who might be successful in smashing fours and sixes but lacks in fielding and quick running between the wickets.
Elimination of Shikhar Dhawan from ICC World Cup 2023
Elimination of Shikhar Dhawan from ICC World Cup 2023

Though Shikhar Dhawan scored runs and proved to be one of the best opening pairs along with Rohit Sharma, by making use of the opportunity provided, the selection committee in recent times has offered special preference to multi-talented players who are a part of the Indian cricket team in ICC World Cup 2023 that includes:

  • Surya Kumar Yadav – A 360-degree batsman who can score runs in all directions.
  • Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma- The explosive opening pair to open up innings and score more runs.
  • Virat Kohli- A fast runner between the wickets to score more runs rather than depending upon fours and sixes. In certain circumstances, a part-time bowler like Virat Kohli can confuse the opponent team’s strategy by taking crucial wickets.
  • Ravindra Jadeja (all-rounder) – One of the best lower-order batsmen and a spin bowler with the best fielding techniques who can score and save more runs as well as grab quick wickets by taking the toughest diving catches.
  • Hardik Pandya (all-rounder) – The best lower-order batsman for the Indian cricket team who can play constructive and destructive innings according to the game situations. Also, a fast bowler and active fielder who can take quick wickets and save runs against the opposition.
  • Axar Patel ( all-rounder)- A player who can bat well in the completing phase of the innings by scoring more runs than expected as well as a spin bowler who can give a tough competition to the opposition team in-form batsman.
  • Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul- An alternative opening pair to score quick runs and pressure the opposition during the start of innings. Apart from batting, the wicket-keeping skills of Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul can prove to be a good choice but not the best choice for the replacement of retired talented wicket-keeper cum batsman MS Dhoni. 

Concluding Facts About Elimination of Shikhar Dhawan from ICC World Cup 2023

Shikhar Dhawan was recently dropped from Asia Cup 2023. While comparing the present squads of Asia Cup 2023 and World Cup 2023, it becomes clear that the selection committee has finalized the abridged version of Asia Cup 2023 squads for the upcoming grand tournament with the exclusion of Sanju Samson, Tilak Varma, and Prasidh Krishna. This itself was the first indication of eliminating Shikhar Dhawan from the ICC World Cup 2023 squad.

If the selection committee was so keen on scrutinizing multi-talented players by eliminating a talented opening batsman like Shikhar Dhawan, then players such as Sanju Samson, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Rishabh Pant deserve a fair chance to secure their spot in the Indian cricket team.

Even after maintaining a fantastic record in tournaments such as the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 and 2017, ICC World Cup 2015 and 2019, and TATA IPL 2023, the selectors dropped Shikhar Dhawan from the 15-men squad in search of new batting techniques rather than preferring a steady batting performance.

If Shikhar Dhawan is considered a slow opening batsman, then players such as Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir, who were a part of the 2011 World Cup winning squad have opened their innings slowly and contributed steady success to their teams by scoring high.

When it comes to fielding aspects there are certain rumours that Shikhar Dhawan might not be the best fit. Let’s clear this rumor by considering the example of another fielder Virender Sehwag, who was a part of the 2011 World Cup winning squad. Though Sehwag was not an active fielder was slow in fielding but impressive with his batting performance.

Overall, the selection process was unfair not only with Shikhar Dhawan but also with other young multi-talented cricketers by finalizing the compact version of Asia Cup 2023 squads into the ICC World Cup 2023 tournament.

Even if there were many alternative options in the playing XI of the ICC World Cup 2023, an experienced opening batsman like Shikhar Dhawan should have been at least included in the 15-men squad list.

As an Indian cricket fan, let’s hope and wish the present cricket squad of this forthcoming contest to achieve success in the upcoming tournament by lifting the World Cup trophy once again after 2011 in our home ground…

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