Shikhar Dhawan might be on the wrong side of his 30s, but former cricketer Wasim Jaffer reckons Team India shouldn't look past the left-handed opener for the 2021 edition of T20 World Cup and 2023 ODI World Cup just yet.
According to Jaffer, Dhawan is one of the chief architects of India’s dominance in white-ball cricket lately but the southpaw gets overshadowed by the 'outstanding' Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
Jaffer's comments came after Dhawan led India to an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the ODI series opener in Colombo on July 18. The 35-year-old scored 86 not out off 95 balls to take the visitors over the line with 80 balls to spare while chasing the target of 263.
"The way the Indian team has come up the ranks in white-ball cricket in the past few years, a lot of credit goes to Shikhar Dhawan as well, even though sometimes his contributions remain in the shadow of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma who are obviously outstanding players. But I think we shouldn't underestimate Shikhar Dhawan and I see him, at least for a year or two, a contender to play in this T20 World Cup and also the 2023 50-over World Cup," he said in a video posted on his Youtube channel.
Jaffer pointed out Dhawan’s performances in the last two IPL seasons to put forward his opinion.
"You can't rule out Shikhar Dhawan for the upcoming T20 World Cup. The way he has performed in the IPL in the past two years... even though we know Rohit Sharma is a surety to open, KL Rahul is a candidate, Virat Kohli said he wants to open, Prithvi Shaw is also coming up as a future contender, there are a lot of options. But Shikhar Dhawan shouldn't be ruled out either in 50-over or T20 internationals,” he added.
Plying his trade for the Delhi Capitals (DC), Dhawan was the second highest run-getter in IPL 2020 with 618 runs while he was the leading run-scorer in IPL 2021 before the tournament got postponed due to COVID-19 cases in bio-bubbles.
Wasim Jaffer feels Dhawan’s experience and his record could prove vital for India at ICC events.
"He has 17 hundreds in ODIs. And a surprising stat is that he has more ODI hundreds than Virender Sehwag (15), Gautam Gambhir (11) and even Yuvraj Singh (14)... comparisons aren't a very good thing to do but the numbers speak for themselves. In 140-plus games he has scored over 6400 runs and experience matters a lot. When you got to an ICC event, play at a neutral venue, experience counts," he concluded.