Shikhar Dhawan in action for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021
Shikhar Dhawan has been one of the unsung stars of the Indian Premier League. The opening batsman is the second highest run-getter in the history of the league with 5784 runs from 192 matches. His tally of 44 half-centuries is second only to that of David Warner and the southpaw also has two centuries to his credit, which came in back-to-back matches in the 2020 season. What’s interesting is that some of his best seasons have come in the last three years, ever since joining the Delhi Capitals on a transfer. His impact has been immense at the top of the order, which has seen the rejuvenated franchise reach the play-offs in all three seasons.
But this isn’t something new. Dhawan had spent 6 seasons with Sunrisers Hyderabad, where he formed one of the league’s most successful opening partnerships with the Aussie great Warner. Dhawan won the IPL with SRH in 2016 and remains the franchise’s second highest run-getter till date.
But somehow, his efforts, not only in the IPL but also for Team India, never translated into a leadership role with any IPL team. He has deputised for captains at both SRH and DC and looked comfortable in the role, but has never been looked at as a choice to lead a team.
With his national team commitments at an all-time low, after being out of favour in both Tests and T20Is, Dhawan will be looking to prove himself all over again, not just as a batsman but also as a leader. This is a window of opportunity for some teams, which are in search of a new leader. If Dhawan is not retained by Delhi Capitals, then there is a chance for the other franchises, including the two new ones, to look at Dhawan in a leadership role.
Dhawan must be itching to get back to India colours in the limited overs formats and the IPL is his vehicle to stake a claim for a place in the team. Not just Dhawan, there are senior India cricketers like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane, who could also be looked upon as possible captaincy candidates because of their vast experience.
The likes of KL Rahul and Sanju Samson have excelled with the bat despite the burden of captaincy but they have not been able deliver the results for their respective teams. Hence, this mega auction could open the doors for some surprise picks and choices in the upcoming season.
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