'I went to Virat and said 'this is the guy' but he said no' - Ravi Shastri recalls how he backed Shikhar Dhawan in 2017

‘I went to Virat and said ‘this is the guy’ but he said no’ – Ravi Shastri recalls how he backed Shikhar Dhawan in 2017

Shastri recalled that Dhawan was not given assent by skipper Kohli but he was drafted into the team on his insistence.

Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan
Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Former India coach Ravi Shastri has revealed how despite Virat Kohli’s resistance he backed Shikhar Dhawan during 2017 when then-regular opener Murali Vijay was ruled out on account of injury. Shastri recalled that Dhawan was not given assent by skipper Kohli but he was drafted into the team on his insistence.

India were on a three-Test tour of Sri Lanka after the conclusion of the 2017 Champions Trophy when Murali Vijay failed to make the cut as he was yet to recover and gain match fitness following his wrist surgery.

Dhawan, who had a stellar run at the Champions Trophy, was brought into the discussion by Shastri, who reckoned that the southpaw was looking “dangerous”. Dhawan tallied 338 runs at an impressive 67.60 in the tournament, helping India on their way to the final, which the team lost to arch-rivals Pakistan.

I said ‘No, give this guy a go’: Ravi Shastri

“I remember one when people talk about selection… and it was a great selection. Shikhar Dhawan – he was not going to play, he was not in the mix. He had a good Champions trophy. I went to Virat and said, ‘this is the guy’, but he said ‘no’. He said ‘we were thinking about giving someone a run. So we thought we will carry on with this process,” Shastri said on ‘The Bold and Brave, The Ravi Shastri Way’ show on Star Sports.

Dhawan passed the test with flying colours, proving Shastri’s backing correct, as he slammed a scintillating, Player of the Match 190 off merely 168, featuring 31 fours, on Day 1 of the series opener in Galle. India went on to clinch the game by a whopping 304-run margin and eventually clean-swept Sri Lanka 3-0.

“I said ‘No, give this guy a go. He is looking dangerous. He is looking good. If he gets going, he will win you the match in a session. First game he plays, he gets 190 before tea. That was it. The stamp on the series was right there. And then once they lost the first game, it was one after the other,” Shastri added.