Harare: He might have been relegated to vice-captaincy after KL Rahul’s late inclusion. However, India team’s senior-most player Shikhar Dhawan is always ready to lend a helping hand to the youngsters who seek out for him. Shikhar Dhawan was all set to lead the team in a three-match ODI series here against Zimbabwe, but now that he will be performing the duties of a deputy, he is ready to put his best foot forward.
“I quite enjoy sharing my experiences with the youngsters in the team. I first came here in 2014 (actually 2013), when Duncan Fletcher was the Indian coach. If they (youngsters) reach out to me for any suggestions, I am (always) there to answer them,” Dhawan told reporters at a media conference here.
The 36-year-old southpaw is rather happy that skipper Rahul will get the much-needed game time ahead of the all-important Asia Cup. “It is very good news that KL (Rahul) is back and will be leading the side as well. He is one of the main players of this Indian team. It will be a good outing for him before the Asia Cup gets underway. I am sure he will gain a lot from this tour,” Dhawan said.
Dhawan also lamented about all-rounder Washington Sundar who was ruled out of the tour after he injured his left shoulder in the Royal London One Day Cup.
“It’s sad that Washington is out. He is quite an important player for the side. But it’s part and parcel… injuries happen. Hope, he will recover soon. He will be missed him as a spinner but we have got a good back-up through Kuldeep Yadav and Deepak Hooda, who also bowls off-spin,” the Indian-vice captain pointed out.
India is back in the southern African nation for the first time since 2016. They haven’t played much against Zimbabwe in the last few years. Dhawan is of the opinion that should not take Zimbabwe lightly, especially after their recent series win against Bangladesh.
“They have won against Bangladesh. They are playing good cricket. It’s good for us and we cannot take anything for granted. It’s about the process,” Dhawan said. “Regardless of the team we are facing, we always make sure we do things right so that we end up getting the right results. That will once again be our focus as a team,” Dhawan asserted.
Dhawan praised senior Zimbawean batter Sikandar Raza and said that the Indian bowlers will have to bowl smart against the latter to contain him in the right time. “He (Raza) is a very good player. He has been playing for Zimbabwe for a long time. He is a quality player. I am sure our bowlers with come up with nice plans against him,” he said.
Dhawan went on to add that the series against Zimbabwe will be crucial for a number of youngsters in the squad like Shubman Gill, Avesh Khan, Ishan Kishan and the exposure they are getting will be extremely beneficial to them in the coming days.
“The youngsters, these days, have got more exposure. They are confident and they have got good techniques. Their confidence level is quite high because of domestic and IPL. We feel that we have got so many options. It is a healthy sign for the team,” Dhawan signed off.