In addition to several new faces and some well-deserved returns to the Indian team for the upcoming five-match T20I series against South Africa, the squad announcement for the home series saw some exclusions that surprised many.
MSK Prasad, the former chairman of selectors, was particularly shocked by Shikhar Dhawan’s exclusion, admitting that the star batter has “definitely missed the bus.”
The left-handed opener was dropped from the T20 World Cup team last year, even after scoring nearly 600 runs in the IPL 2021, and despite making an India comeback in the ODI series in South Africa and against the West Indies at home, he was not considered for the series against the Proteas which is set to begin next month.
The southpaw was one of the biggest absentees from the 18-member T20I squad that was announced on Sunday (May 22).
Speaking to NDTV, Prasad said Dhawan could have been an ideal choice for the Indian team at the T20 World Cup in Australia, where he has played brilliantly and has been a “proven customer in ICC tournaments.”
“I thought they will consider Shikhar because if you’re looking at T20 World Cup, we’re going to have it in Australia. It will be all hard and bouncy tracks, where Shikhar is a proven customer. Shikhar is also a proven customer in ICC tournaments. So somewhere I felt that maybe they could have given him an opportunity in this series before completely overlooking him,” he said.
“I personally felt that they should have tried him in this series. If they were not happy with him, they could have gone ahead. Maybe because Ishan Kishan and other guys have played the (2021 T20) World Cup, they are sticking on with them rather than trying out somebody else, I have a feeling like that. But I think Shikhar has definitely missed the bus. But they should have tried him this series. If they were still not happy with him, they should have gone past him,” he added.
Suresh Raina, the former India batter, was also of the same opinion stating that if Dinesh Karthik, 36, can be brought back to the Indian team, so can Dhawan.
“Obviously, Shikhar would have been disappointed. Every captain wants a player like him in the team. He is fun-loving person who brightens up the environment. And he has always scored runs – be it domestic, international or T20. If you’ve brought Dinesh Karthik back in the team, Shikhar Dhawan deserved a place too. He has performed runs the last 3-4 years and has scored runs non-stop. Somewhere deep down, he must be sad,” Raina had said on the Cricket Live show on Star Sports.
(NDTV AND STAR SPORTS INPUTS)