The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the squad for the five-match home T20I series against South Africa on Sunday. While many of the senior players including captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were rested on expected lines, it was KL Rahul who was handed the responsibility of leading the team. However, in a surprising exclusion, there was no mention of Shikhar Dhawan in the squad.
The news attracted a lot of eyeballs especially because Dhawan was expected to be the captain of the team with the senior boys opting for a short break before the tour of England. Ultimately though the Punjab Kings star did not even feature in the side. Recent reports suggest that head coach Rahul Dravid might have played a role in the decision to overlook the 36-year-old batter.
It is being reported that Dravid informed the selectors that the team would move on and have their eyes on youngsters with the T20 World Cup coming up in a few months. BCCI Secretary Jay Shah was also part of this meeting. Moreover, Dravid himself called Dhawan to inform him that the team would be looking at the youngsters henceforth in the shortest format of the game.
“Shikhar has been a great servant of Indian cricket for over a decade. But in T20s, you have to give chances to youngsters who have been doing well. Rahul had to make the tough call and we all agreed. Shikhar was informed by Rahul before the team was announced on Sunday,” a senior BCCI official was quoted by InsideSport.
While one may agree that age is not on his side anymore, Dhawan has been scoring runs consistently in T20 cricket. While he was one of the leading run-scorers in IPL 2021, this year too he has scored over 400 runs in 14 games – a testimony to his consistency and class.
However, the recent development may mean the end of the road for Dhawan’s T20I career with several youngsters waiting for their chance at the top of the order. He, however, is expected to be in the plans for the ODI format.