Ahead of the first ODI against England, Indian skipper Virat Kohli has announced the Indian opening pair during the pre-match conference held on Monday. The 32-year-old confirmed that Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will open for Men in Blue on March 23 in Pune. The left-handed batsman, who was dropped from the team after the first T20I, will finally get an opportunity to prove his mettle once again.
Indian Team persisting with Gabbar in ODIs
While Hitman was going to be a definite starter, there were doubts as to who will partner him in the ODIs. There were three players in reckoning for that one spot, including Shubman Gill, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan. While Gill and Rahul had a fairly disappointing Test and T20I series respectively, it looks like India wants to give a fair chance to Shikhar Dhawan who has been a regular member of India's ODI side for a while.
Gabbar registered scores of 74, 30 and 16 in India's last ODI series against Australia in Nov-Dec 2020. The southpaw also played the first T20I against England in Ahmedabad but looked completely out of sorts. He was eventually clean bowled on 4 off 12 delivery by a peach of a delivery from Mark Wood. Dhawan was dropped for rest of series and will be back playing in the format he loves the most i.e ODIs.
Notably, Shikhar Dhawan has had a glittering ODI career so far. The left-handed batsman has scored 5808 runs in 139 matches at a scintillating average of 45. After two impressive ODI World Cup campaigns in 2015 and 2019, it is going to be a very crucial series for Dhawan to keep his hopes alive of playing another World Cup in 2023, scheduled to take place in India.