After getting just one chance in the T20 series, where he could not perform well, Shikhar Dhawan would like to show the selectors and his fans why he is rated, alongside Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, as one of the big guns for India in the 50-over format.
Virat Kohli, the Indian captain already said in the pre-match press conference that both Rohit and Shikhar are to open the innings. He went on to say both have been amazing and have been performing consistently in the longer format of the white ball game. Over the last three years the Sharma-Dhawan opening combination has been the third most prolific with a tally of 1,479 runs.
Also, Dhawan has been scoring heavily for India in ICC tournaments. He was the player of the series in the Champions Trophy in 2017, and he was also the player of the series in the Asia Cup played in UAE. He made a terrific start to the ICC World Cup in 2019 by a scoring a match-winning hundred against Australia before getting injured and missing the rest of the tournament where India missed his experience in the knockout stages. In 139 ODIs Shikhar Dhawan has a staggering average of 45 with a healthy strike rate of 94, with 17 hundreds and 30 half-centuries.
Dhawan was also the highest run-getter for Delhi Capitals in last year's IPL in the UAE. However, the pressure of youngsters such as Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav knocking on the door with a strike rate of above 140 and Kohli persisting with KL Rahul has cost him his place in the shorter format.
Dhawan is also not getting any younger at 35 but his fitness is second best to Kohli. He still has a few years of cricket left in him if he performs well, and would definitely like to be a part of the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup later this October and the 50 over world Cup in 2023 – both happening in India.
This series against England would be a good chance for Dhawan to show his mettle as he can take his time to get in as the longer format gives openers time to access the wicket and up the ante.
Will Shikhar fire? Only time will tell but there is no doubt that he has indeed been the "Gabbar" of Indian cricket in the 50 overs format for a long time.