“People don’t give Shikhar Dhawan the credit he deserves…”: Ravi Shastri

As the Asia Cup 2023 draws near, the Indian cricket team faces a dilemma in finalizing their playing XI, particularly concerning the opening partnership. The return of Jasprit Bumrah strengthens the bowling attack, but the last few spots remain up for contention. An important decision revolves around choosing between Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill as Rohit Sharma’s opening partner. The team management is grappling with this decision as Ravi Shastri, the head coach, advocates for a specific batting order and the inclusion of left-handed batters.

Ravi Shastri, the head coach of the Indian cricket team, has been vocal about his preference for having three left-handed batters in the lineup. He suggests that placing Ishan Kishan at the top of the order alongside Rohit Sharma would provide a balanced left-right combination. Shastri emphasizes that the remaining players must demonstrate adaptability in their positions.

“Place Ishan Kishan at the top of the order, no other position. The remaining players must demonstrate adaptability,” Shastri said.

Shastri’s argument is grounded in the lessons learned from the 2019 World Cup. He points to the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, a left-handed opener, due to a thumb injury. According to Shastri, Dhawan’s absence left a void, particularly when facing swing bowling, as a left-hander at the top of the order can make a significant difference.

Shastri highlighted this saying, “People do not give Shikhar Dhawan the credit he deserves. That man was a fantastic player. We had a fantastic World Cup in 2019, however, we were defeated in the semi-finals by New Zealand. He was the man who had gone missing. When the ball is swinging away (swinging in for the right-handers), having a left-hander at the top of the order makes a significant difference.”

Ravi Shastri underscores the significance of left-handed batters in the team’s composition, especially in conditions where the ball swings away from right-handers. Having a left-hander at the top of the order can counter this challenge and provide a tactical advantage. Shastri’s argument is rooted in the principles of strategic batting, where a diverse batting order can counter different types of bowling and field placements.

“Aside from the top four you mentioned, I believe two left-handers must fill three other positions. This is where the role of the selectors comes in since they are watching. They know who the hot guy is. Bring in Tilak Varma if he’s hot. Bring Yashasvi Jaiswal in if you believe he’s hot,” Ravi Shastri further stated.

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Shastri acknowledges that the selectors have a critical role to play in shaping the team’s composition. He encourages the selectors to identify promising left-handed talents like Tilak Varma and Yashasvi Jaiswal, who could potentially bolster the team’s lineup. Shastri’s emphasis on having two left-handers occupy three positions beyond the top four reflects his strategic vision for the team’s batting order.

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