India great expects veteran batter to miss Australia trip

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan is unlikely to retire from the fray and will attend this year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Dhawan has already played at two T20 World Cups for India in 2014 and 2016 and good form at this year’s IPL tournament saw his name back in the spotlight of the roster.

But the southpaw was overlooked in the recent five-game run against South Africa, with selectors instead opting for relative newcomers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan with regulars Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul on the side.

Dhawan also missed out on roster for the upcoming UK white-ball tour, which kicks off with two games against Ireland later this month.

While there are lingering concerns about the suitability of first-choice opener Rahul, Gavaskar doesn’t expect Dhawan to be in the mix to make it to a third T20 World Cup in October.

“No. I don’t see his name appearing,” a blunt Gavaskar told Star Sports.

“If it had to show up, it would have been in this squad (to play against Ireland).

“A lot of guys have gone to England and he could have been in this squad.

“If he’s not in this squad, I don’t see him finishing in the mix (for T20 World Cup).”

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Gaikwad and Kishan didn’t hurt their chances of making the trip to Australia by scoring half a century apiece in the recently completed series against South Africa, with Kishan especially impressing with a total of 206 runs averaging over 40.

But Gavaskar has no doubts about India’s best opening combination in Australia if all players prove their fitness in time for the showcase tournament Down Under.

“My opening combination would have KL Rahul, if he is fit, and Rohit Sharma next to him,” said Gavaskar.

The T20 World Cup kicks off on October 16, with India’s first match at the MCG against Pakistan on October 23.

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