Veteran India opener Shikhar Dhawan revealed the five first-choice players he’ll pick if he was naming his dream World Cup XI for this year’s tournament which will be played in India from October 5 onwards.
Dhawan himself featured in two World Cup tournaments in 2015 and 2019 and was part of India’s 2013 Champions Trophy winning team. He not only excelled in ICC tournaments but three of his 17 ODI centuries came at the showcase 50-over event.
While talking to ICC, Dhawan selected his first five picks for his dream XI for this World Cup 2023 and it featured two Indians, one Australian, one Afghan, and one South African player.
Virat Kohli was Dhawan’s first pick given that he has appeared in three World Cup tournaments, having made his debut in the 2011 event with a bang, hitting a century against Bangladesh and then exceled in the 2015 edition in Australia and New Zealand.
Kohli led India in the 2019 World Cup to the semi-finals and batted brilliantly as well.
"The first (picked) is Virat of course. He is the best batter in the world and has been scoring runs like crazy,” Dhawan told ICC.
The next pick by Dhawan was his one-time opening partner and current India captain Rohit Sharma. Rohit scored a world record 5 centuries in the 2019 World Cup and was the highest run-getter in the event.
"Rohit is a very experienced customer. He has scored lots of runs in ICC tournaments and bilateral (series) and he's a proven player (on the big stage),” Dhawan added.
Dhawan’s next pick was ace pacer Mitchell Starc from Australia. Starc was the leading wicket-taker at the 2019 event in England and Wales with 27 scalps.
"I'll go for Mitchell Starc as he is one of the best fast bowlers (in the world)," Dhawan noted.
The next pick for Dhawan was Afghanistan’s magician Rashid Khan, who made his World Cup debut in 2019 and is one of the best spinners in the world at the moment.
"The fourth player will be Rashid Khan with his mystery action. I am sure he'll be very, very impactful (in India) and will take lots of wickets,” Dhawan added.
The fifth pick for Shikhar Dhawan was South African pacer Kagiso Rabada, who impressed all in his maiden World Cup outing in England in 2019.
"Shaheen Afridi I wouldn't take because then there would be two left-arm pacers, so I'll go for Rabada. Rabada has that extra pace and extra bounce that is going to rush the batters,” Dhawan added.