India have won the 2nd T20I against Bangladesh after facing an appalling defeat in the first match in Delhi. Rohit Sharma and Co levelled the three-match series after beating the Bangla Tigers by eight wickets thanks to stand-in captain Rohit Sharma’s blistering 83 runs knock off 43 balls in his 100th T20I at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. The hitman was also declared the man of the match.
However, amid India’s thumping victory, one thing that will still trouble the selectors is Shikhar Dhawan’s slow-paced batting. After getting heavily criticised for his slow batting in the 1st T20I in Delhi, Dhawan once again played an almost run-a-ball inning in Rajkot. The Delhi batsman’s strike rate in Rajkot was 114.81, meaning Dhawan once again failed to shift his batting into top gear.
In the 1st T20I, after India lost Rohit Sharma early, Shikar Dhawan and KL Rahul, who came to bat at no 3 added just 26 runs in the remaining powerplay overs. Their slow batting in the 2nd wicket partnership was one of the top reason why the Men in Blue faced their first-ever defeat to Bangladesh in T20I.
In the second T20I in Rajkot, Bangla Tigers were blown away because of Rohit Sharma’s blistering batting performance. But Dhawan, who was expected to play a quick inning, disappointed the fans once again with scoring 31 runs off 27 balls.
Shikhar Dhawan’s inability to shifting gears has indeed become a worrisome problem for the India cricket team and maybe the time has come that the selectors think of having other options, at a time when the T20 World Cup is just 8-10 months away.
Dhawan’s strike rate in T20I tells an interesting story. The left-hander’s strike rate in the shorter-format is 128.67 which easily portray his inability to switch gears. This year, his form in the T20 format has been pretty ordinary. Dhawan scored just 222 runs in 10 matches at a strike rate of 109.35, which means the 33-year-old batsman has been consistent at failing to make use of the power-play. He is yet to score a 50-plus score in the ongoing year in the 20-over format’s game.
India can’t afford to have such slow batsman in the opening slot in the upcoming World Cup. Dhawan needs to understand that scoring 40-45 runs from the same number of balls not going to help the team in every match, said Gavaskar after the Rajkot match. With the likes of KL Rahul, Sanju Samson among others sitting in the bench, Dhawan must be under considerable pressure after one more slow inning in Rajkot. All eyes will be on the decisive T20I which will be played in Nagpur on Sunday.