The former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri has revealed that the Indian captain Virat Kohli was not in the favor of playing Shikhar Dhawan as an opener in the test series against Sri Lanka in 2017, but it was him who insisted Kohli to play Dhawan in the Galle test match where Dhawan scored a big hundred at a strike rate of over a run a ball.
According to Shastri, Dhawan had a great Champions trophy prior to the Sri Lanka tour and even though it was a tournament which was played in the white ball format, the way Dhawan had played there in England in testing conditions and the way he was timing the ball, he was very sure as a head coach that the southpaw would make a difference in test matches too, if given the opportunity.
Dhawan was out of the test team for a little while before the Sri Lanka tour, but he looked in great rhythm as he was brought back in the set up for the longest format again and his hundred in the first innings at Galle set the tempo for India for the whole tour, a tour where they ended up winning all 9 games that they played across formats.
Shikhar Dhawan later got dropped from India’s test team after England tour of 2018
The Indian selectors, however, dropped Shikhar Dhawan from the test team later after a string of low scores on the England tour of 2018, but he is still in India’s white ball set up and will most likely open the innings for India in the upcoming ODI series against South Africa.
Shastri, while speaking on Star Sports in their exclusive programme The Ravi Shastri Show, said that the reason why he insisted Kohli to pick Dhawan in the test XI on the basis of his white ball form was because he knew if Dhawan kicked on, he would take the match away from the opposition within a session or two, which is exactly what he did in Galle.
In the opinion of Shastri, it was Dhawan’s hundred in the first game of the tour which pushed Sri Lanka’s back to the wall and they couldn’t quite recover from that at any stage of the tour. Dhawan scored 190 runs in that Galle test match off just 168 balls with 31 fours. The left hander looked all set for a double hundred on day 1 before falling just short.