Harbhajan Singh furious that this Veteran India player isn't getting same chances as Rohit, Kohli and Rahul
Harbhajan Singh took Shikhar Dhawan's valiant knock in the win over Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Wednesday (April 5) as an opportunity to press home the case for his comeback into the Indian team. The veteran left-hander struck one of his better knocks for Punjab Kings (PBKS) in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
After a slow start, Dhawan pushed the accelerator mode on and blasted his last 26 balls for a whopping 56 runs, finishing with a top score of 86 off 56 deliveries to lift PBKS to an imposing score of 197/4 in 20 overs. The batter aced 9 fours and 3 sixes as his knock helped Punjab conquer the Royals challenge by 5 runs.
Raving over the knock from outside, Harbhajan Singh wondered why is the stalwart opener given a cold shoulder by senior Indian selectors right now. The former India off-spinner asked the selection panel to reconsider their move to drop Shikhar Dhawan from ODIs, the only format he was playing actively for India, at the start of the year.
To strengthen his argument, Harbhajan said if modern-day greats such as Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma can go through a lean patch and find support during those tough times, why can't Dhawan, especially as he is still supremely fit despite ageing 37?
"Shikhar has also led the Indian side in many tours but suddenly we saw that after the role of Shikhar was over he was sidelined as if he is not needed anymore," Harbhajan said on his Youtube show. "I felt bad on seeing this because the treatment for everyone should be the same. He is a big player and has given too much to Indian cricket."
Harbhajan calls for Dhawan's India comeback
Becoming an ODI specialist after being axed from Tests and T20Is, Shikhar Dhawan was dropped from the side at the beginning of the year after undergoing a sustained decline in scoring rate.
At a time when young Shubman Gill used the opportunities provided by regular skipper and opener Rohit's regular absence amidst a busy T20I calendar to bolster his stocks, Dhawan, often assigned stand-in captaincy duties on parallel tours, made his runs at a strike rate of 74.21 while averaging just 34.40.
With Ishan Kishan, too, relishing his chance in Bangladesh and blasting a terrific double century in Chattogram, Dhawan's days in Indian set-up were always numbered before the selectors ultimately took a call with the 2023 World Cup in mind.
For Harbhajan, however, that was unjust treatment handed out to the 37-year-old as he feels he deserved a longer rope than what he eventually got.
"You can not treat him like this. He played a good knock of 86 in 56 balls. I will not name anyone here. For instance, let's take Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli, or KL Rahul who are big names. You gave them plenty of chances but on the other hand, there is no place for Shikhar Dhawan in the team now."
"He has always contributed for the team. Then why he is not getting a chance in the Indian team? Talking about fitness, he is as fit as Virat Kohli," he added.