There has been much hand-wringing about ODIs; has it slipped into coma and facing death or is there some life in the old thing? The likes of Ben Stokes, Wasim Akram, R Ashwin and a slew of cricketers don’t detect any pulse in it but what does the man inextricably linked with the format, Shikhar Dhawan, think about it?
It’s the only format he plays for India. He gets the format, its ebbs and flows, the moments to seize, the moments to bide one’s time.
“I really enjoy playing ODI cricket. It’s an art and still has charm. I love playing it. Like Test and T20 have their values, ODI cricket is also exciting. I really like it,” Dhawan told The Indian Express. Not a surprise considering he has scored 6493 runs with a healthy average of 45.40 from 155 ODIs with 17 tons and 37 fifties.
But why does the man who has had successful seasons as an opener in IPL doesn’t get to play the T20 format for India?
Is it because his batting is in a similar mould to a Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Rohit Sharma to an extent? That they all build up their innings rather than whack the ball from the go? Dhawan says he is clueless about the reason why he doesn’t get selected.
“I honestly don’t know about it, maybe it could be the reason. I don’t want to go deep about it… I have not played T20 for India for a long time now, I don’t know where I see myself. I look to make the most out of every opportunity I am getting. Be it IPL, domestic cricket, or ODI, I just want to do well, and that is the only thing under my control.”
Dhawan also offered support to Virat Kohli, who is going through a low patch of runs. His last hundred came in 2019. He stepped down from ODI captaincy, was removed from T20 leadership role, and combined with the fallow run of form, speculations have grown about his future.
“Virat is just one inning away and he is a champion player. I am sure he will come back soon. Once he starts going, there is no stopping for him,” Dhawan says.
Kohli’s exit paved the way for Rohit Sharma as a captain and Ravi Shastri’s tenure ended with Rahul Dravid taking over as the coach. How does Dhawan see the changes in the dressing room atmosphere?
“Yes, every individual is different, their energy is also different. When Ravi Bhai was there, the atmosphere was different. Rahul Bhai has a different atmosphere. I had a great bonding with Ravi Bhai back then and I would say my chemistry is excellent with Rahul Bhai too. I really enjoy working with him.”
On August 5, Dhawan opened his sports education company Da One Sports. The academy, he says, will focus on training at the grassroots and elite levels. They will also be developing 4 centers of excellence, along with educating 500 coaches with the help of a coach education program. “I feel Cricket has given me so much and I want to pass my knowledge and experience to the younger generation. I believe that if we put in the best of our efforts, ‘hum sab apne dreams ko reality mein convert kar sakte hain.’ We are selecting the best coaches from all over India to ensure good quality training. I trust every individual who is a part of ‘Da One Sports’ to come together with a common goal of making India a superpower nation in Sports.”