Indian Wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik, who spent a long time with Shikhar Dhawan in the Indian dressing room, insisted that he “admires” Dhawan’s ability to step up under pressure.
Dinesh Karthik backs Shikhar Dhawan
Dhawan was dropped from the Indian T20I side ahead of the T20 World Cup despite being an integral part of the team prior to the global tournament.
Post the World Cup, Dhawan took part in the Vijay Hazare Trophy but failed to make a big score; however, he was included in the squad for the SA ODIs and stepped up to the occasion during the first game of the series.
“The best part about Shikhar, what I really admire about him is that I think the gun is on his head right now but still he finds ways to perform. He is still able to put aside all the pressure. He knows the guillotine is on his head and he still finds a way to hang in there and I really appreciate that,” Karthik said on Cricbuzz.
“The queue for openers have too many names. All of them have done well. When IPL comes, every opener scores. It’s like the feast they have at the end of the day and they love it. But for me, I still see Rohit and Rahul as the two best openers in the country. As a backup opener, you cannot ignore what Shikhar is doing.”
Karthik further said that it would be unfair if Dhawan is sidelined just because of his age, further saying that the fitness tests should be removed as criteria if chopping and changing in the Team India squads is based on age.
“You can say he’s 36 but he will tell you he’s fit. Why have fitness tests when you’re going to look at age? “Then tell players after 35 ‘we’re not going to see you, we’re going to pick younger players’,” said Karthik.
“I feel that’s unfair. He’s done well, he doesn’t do well in domestic cricket because I don’t think it inspires him enough to come and play slow bowlers. For his type of play, he struggles at slow wickets and there’s nobody watching the sport. He’s played so much international cricket that it’s hard for him to motivate himself to play for Delhi and churn runs out for them.
“You put him under pressure against international opposition, he does well. IPL, he does well. That’s all the man can do. If you drop him saying ‘boss, you’re too old’, (it will be) very unfair to him because he’s not done anything wrong. He has done well in the World Cup, post that, he has done well. IPL, he has done really well.”
Dhawan was a part of the Indian ODI squad where India plays 3 matches ODI series under KL Rahul‘s captaincy.