Team India will next be facing off against New Zealand in a three-match ODI series, beginning Friday in Auckland. Left-handed batter Shikhar Dhawan will be leading the side in the absence of Rohit Sharma. This is the third time in 2022 that Dhawan would be leading the side, as he had earlier captained during the West Indies ODI series, and then the home ODI series against South Africa (Dhawan had also led Team India last year during the away Sri Lanka series when the main side was in England). It is important to mention that the batter was named as captain for the Zimbabwe series as well, but at the last minute, KL Rahul came back into the side, having recovered from his injury, and he was then made the captain.
Ahead of the first ODI against New Zealand, Dhawan was asked about how he felt when he was removed as the captain for the Zimbabwe series at the last minute.
“You have asked a good question. I consider myself fortunate that I am getting an opportunity to lead the side at this stage of my career. I feel good about it and it is a challenge. We have won good series with a young side. If I talk about the Zimbabwe tour, KL Rahul is the vice-captain of our main team, when he came back, I was mindful of the fact that he had to go to Asia Cup. If Rohit had gotten injured during Asia Cup, then KL might have been asked to lead. So it was better that he had the practice during the Zimbabwe tour,” Dhawan said during a pre-match press conference.
“I was not hurt. I feel that whatever happens, happens for the best. I was then selected as the captain for the South Africa series, the selectors and the team management gave me that opportunity. I never feel bad,” he added.
Talking about the 2023 World Cup, and how having options such as himself, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul to open might prove as a headache for the team, Dhawan said: “We guys have been performing well for a period of time. At the same time, talking about myself, I have to keep performing. I know till the time I perform, it would be good for me. It keeps me on my toes and keeps me hungry.”
When asked about how he ensures that mental health stays in top shape in this social media age, Dhawan said: “On social media, there is trolling. We are used to it now, smart people know how to go about using social media. They know if they don’t perform, what kind of chatter will take place on social media. It totally depends on our performance. When you know it, there is no need of looking into it. That’s how I deal with it.”