Shikhar Dhawan unveils initial 5 picks for his dream ODI XI; two Indians make the cut

Shikhar Dhawan unveils initial 5 picks for his dream ODI XI; two Indians make the cut

Shikhar Dhawan select two Indians in his dream ODI XI

India cricketer Shikhar Dhawan, despite currently being out of the reckoning for the national team, has donned the selector’s hat and shared his initial five picks for a dream ODI eleven for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup, slated to be played from October 5 to November 19.

Dhawan, no stranger to World Cups with an impressive average of 53.70 in ten games, including three centuries, finds himself on the periphery of selection due to the emergence of young talents like Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan. Gill and Kishan have displayed their prowess with double centuries in the ODI format over the past year, making compelling cases for opening alongside Rohit Sharma in the upcoming World Cup. The veteran cricketer’s last appearance for India was in December 2022 during an ODI series in Bangladesh.

During an event with the International Cricket Council (ICC), Dhawan was asked to select a dream XI for the 2023 ODI World Cup. He unveiled his first five choices, featuring two batters and three bowlers. The Indian stalwart’s picks included two Indian players, alongside one each from Australia, South Africa and Afghanistan.

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Dhawan discloses first five choices for his dream ODI XI

Speaking to the ICC review, Dhawan hailed Virat Kohli as the best batter globally while naming him in his dream ODI XI. He also included India’s captain Rohit, describing him as a proven performer on the grand stage.

“The first (picked) is Virat of course. He is the best batter in the world and has been scoring runs like crazy,” Dhawan said.

Kohli, with his impeccable record, was an obvious choice. He boasts the second-highest number of centuries (46) in ODIs and has amassed almost 13,000 runs at an extraordinary average of 57.32. Additionally, Kohli has an impressive World Cup record, with over 1,000 runs in 26 games at an average of 46.81, including two centuries.

“Rohit is a very experienced customer. He has scored lots of runs in ICC tournaments and bilateral (series) and he’s a proven player (on the big stage),” the 37-year-old added.

Rohit boasts a remarkable record in the 50-over format, with nearly 10,000 runs at an average of 48.69. He is the only player to score three double centuries in ODIs and has an average of 65.20 in 17 World Cup matches, including a record five centuries in the 2019 edition.

In the bowling department, Dhawan opted for Australia’s Mitchell Starc, who has a history of dominating World Cup campaigns.

“I’ll go for Mitchell Starc as he is one of the best fast bowlers (in the world),” the southpaw said

Starc was the leading wicket-taker in both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, with 22 and 27 scalps, respectively. He even earned the Player of the Series title during Australia’s triumph in the 2015 edition. His ability to deliver in high-pressure situations and his World Cup pedigree make him a formidable choice for Dhawan’s XI.

Afghanistan’s star spinner Rashid Khan is Dhawan’s fourth pick. Despite a modest performance in his debut World Cup in 2019, where he managed only six wickets in nine games, Dhawan believes that Rashid’s unique bowling action will be more effective on subcontinent pitches, making him a valuable asset.

“The fourth player will be Rashid Khan with his mystery action,” Dhawan said with a grin. “I am sure he’ll be very, very impactful (in India) and will take lots of wickets,” the Delhi-lad further added

Rashid’s astonishing success in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on native soil bolsters his credentials as a formidable bowler.

In the pursuit of the fifth and final selection, Dhawan contemplated a choice between Kagiso Rabada and Pakistan’s left-arm pace prodigy, Shaheen Afridi. Ultimately, Rabada, the South African speedster, clinched the position, partially due to the presence of the left-arm seamer Starc in the lineup.

“Shaheen Afridi I wouldn’t take because then there would be two left-arm pacers, so I’ll go for Rabada. Rabada has that extra pace and extra bounce that is going to rush the batters,” Dhawan concluded.

While Rabada’s performance in the solitary 2019 World Cup was middling, his exceptional ODI record in India, with 13 wickets in seven games at an average of 25.84, fortified his inclusion.

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