Stand-in captain Shikhar Dhawan scored his 39th ODI half-century in the 1st One-Day International(ODI) against hosts New Zealand on Friday. He stitched a 124-run partnership for the opening wicket with fellow opener Shubman Gill, to give Team India a solid start. On the back of half-centuries by both openers and Shreyas Iyer, the Men in Blue set a big target of 307 runs in 50 overs for the Kiwis.
Dhawan has played several match-winning knocks for Team India. In ODIs, he averages more than 45 and has scored 6744 runs. But some experts feel that the left-handed batter’s exploits in the 50-over format gets brushed under the carpet amidst bigger names like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Former India head coach Ravi Shastri holds similar views. Speaking during Pre-Match Coverage of Prime Video for the 1st ODI, Shastri said that the left-handed batter didn’t get the laurels that he deserved.
“He’s vastly experienced. He doesn’t get the accolades that he deserves. To be honest, most of the spotlight is on Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. But when you look at his one-day cricket record, and you look at some of the innings he has played against top teams in big games, it’s an outstanding record,” said Shastri.
“A left-hander at the top makes a lot of difference. He is a natural stroke player, he has got all the shots to countertop class fast bowling, the pull, the cut, and the drive. He likes it when the ball is coming onto the bat, and I think his experience will be handy here. There are a lot of talented youngsters around, but I think in this format of the game, his experience will be in value,” he added.
Dhawan scored 72 off 77 balls including 13 fours, before being dismissed by New Zealand bowler Tim Southee. India all-rounder Washington Sundar hit a quickfire 37 off just 16 balls to help the team sail past the 300-run mark.
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