After a forgettable England tour this year where he managed to score just 162 runs in eight innings followed by the highest score of just 43 in the seven innings in all formats against the West Indies at home this year, Shikhar Dhawan put an end to his lean patch after his 62-ball 92, his highest in T20I. He helped the men in blue to register a thrilling six-wicket win to clean sweep the series 3-0 against West Indies at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday.
India skipper Rohit Sharma was happy to see Dhawan, who has been included in the T20I squad for the much-awaited series against Australia, among runs before the grueling tour down under. During the post-match press conference on Sunday night, Sharma said, “It was important for the players to get some runs ahead of the important Australia tour. Shikhar especially was batting well in the ODI series, but he was not able to get big scores. I am glad that he could play a match-winning knock and get some form under his belt before the crucial tour.”
Dhawan and Rishabh Pant stitched a clinical 130-run partnership for the third wicket to steer India from the spot of bother at 45/2, to victory. Pant scored a brisk 58 off 38.
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Praising the youngster, Sharma said, “Rishabh was also hungry to go out and get some runs. It was the perfect situation. We were two down inside the first six overs. There was a bit of pressure as well. They handled it well and it was a match-winning partnership. It is important in the team’s perspective that both these guys got runs.”
India will three T20Is, four Tests and three ODIs on the almost two-month tour of Australia beginning with the first Twenty20 International on November 21 at the Gabba in Brisbane. Talking about the tour, Rohit said a player is always tested down-under as it’s always a different ball game.
Rohit was particularly pleased with his team’s high fielding standards during the T20 series against West Indies. When asked about his selection in the Test squad for the Australia series, Rohit said that he’s not thinking about the five-day format. He said, “We have the T20Is and practice games before the first Test match. I am not thinking about the Test match. We will have enough time to think about Test matches after that. Test matches are something I was looking forward to for a long time and it will be nice to go out there and play a Test match for India.”
The series whitewash against West Indies comes as another feather on the cap for Rohit, who also led India to the 2018 Asia Cup title. Meanwhile, he also praised the elder of the Pandya brothers – Krunal Pandya – for his fearless attitude.
Sharma said, “Krunal is a street-smart cricketer who is never afraid of any doing stuff on the field. I am impressed with how he approached these three games. He has got great ability to play for India for a long period of time. He is fearless like his brother [Hardik]. At the end of the day, we need characters in the team. You need players like Hardik, Krunal who are not afraid to express themselves.”