'India has decided to move on with younger players' - Mark Butcher on Shikhar Dhawan's T20 World Cup snub

Butcher noted that Shikhar Dhawan's strike rate may have gone up in the last few seasons, but Team India wants younger players.

Mark Butcher and Shikhar Dhawan.
Mark Butcher and Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

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In the very first match of Delhi Capitals in the second leg of the IPL 2021, Shikhar Dhawan reclaimed the Orange Cap with a knock of 42 runs. Despite being the highest run-getter in the tournament, Dhawan didn’t find a place in the T20 World Cup 2021 squad of the Indian team. Former England batter Mark Butcher feels that the national team management has decided to move on from him. 

While explaining this, Butcher noted that when Dhawan was the first-choice opener for the Indian T20I team, his strike rate was a bit low. However, in the last few years, his strike rate has gone up in the shortest format, along with the number of runs he scored. There has been an aggressive shift in his style of play. 

“I suppose the interesting thing from that point of view is that when Shikhar Dhawan was more of a regular feature in the Indian team in T20 cricket, his strike rate was always a little bit on the low side for an opener in T20Is. And in recent years, since he has been out of the team, his strike rate has actually gone up. He has started to play a lot more aggressively,” Butcher told Cricket.com.

Dhawan might feel he’s better suited to play T20s now than before: Mark Butcher

The observation made by Butcher is actually quite accurate. Until the 2018 season, Dhawan never had a strike rate of more than 130 in any of the seasons. However, in 2018, he struck at 137, in 2019 he had a strike rate of 136. In 2020, he was striking hard at 144. In all those seasons, he has scored 497, 521, and 618 runs. This year, he already has 420 runs in nine innings with an average above 52 and a strike rate of 132. 

Butcher noted that it seems the Indian team is keener on having younger players in the T20 set-up. “He might feel that he is better suited to play for India in the T20 World Cup now than he was then. But perhaps that ship has sailed. Perhaps India has decided to move on, move along with younger players. Not least his opening partner Prithvi Shaw and they are looking elsewhere,” the former batsman pointed out.