Limited-overs captain says no chats with team management in England about player selection have happened yet
“Every series is big when you play for India and all the players know how important every game is,” Dhawan said. “There is competition for the opening slot and it’s a very good thing. Whoever plays, the goal is to do well as a team. Along the way, if we also do well, then these things [selection] take care of themselves.”
“As of now, I haven’t had any specific chat with Virat or Ravi bhai,” he said. “I’m sure they may have spoken to Rahul bhai, or the selectors and that message will be conveyed to us. Whoever it is, the focus is on the T20 World Cup. If selectors or team management come to a mutual understanding that we need to play someone specifically, this is a great platform to have a look at them.”
The 837 runs Shaw made during Mumbai’s title-winning run, including three 150-plus scores, is the most in Vijay Hazare Trophy history, and Shaw continued his sparkling form in the IPL too. Padikkal, the tall left-handed opener, finished second in the Hazare Trophy with 737 runs, courtesy four consecutive List A centuries. He followed that up with an excellent IPL season for Royal Challengers Bangalore before the season was postponed due to the pandemic.
Dhawan was then prodded a bit about India’s six spin bowling options – the others are Krunal Pandya and the uncapped duo of Varun Chakravarthy and K Gowtham – and if they intended to give all of them a look-in at some stage.
“We haven’t really discussed who gets how many games,” he said. “The first goal is to win the series and we will play the best XI to win. We will pick whoever we feel can do well [on a given day]. it’s not like we have to play everyone just because we have brought them here. That is not the thought process.”
Dhawan was most happy about having gotten to spend time with the younger players. The group spent two weeks in Mumbai and have spent three weeks in Colombo, having bonded on and off the field, apart from playing a few practice matches. In a video put out on social media, Dhawan was even seen playing flute with Shaw singing along.
“I’ve interacted with all my younger colleagues,” he said with a smile. “It’s good to know them personally, see their skills in the nets. It’s great to be connected to them – [Sandeep] Warrier, [Ishan] Porel, Akshdeep [Singh] and all other youngsters . There is great vibe in the team. It’s been a month now [that they have been together].”
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo