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Three left-field options for Shikhar Dhawan’s replacement in the lead-up to the 2023 World Cup

Team India’s preparations for the 2023 World Cup are not in great shape at the moment, as the team is having trouble settling into the 50-over format. The subpar performances of the top players, particularly Shikhar Dhawan, can contribute to some of their difficulties.

In the 20 ODIs that Dhawan has played in 2022, he has scored 677 runs at an average of 37.61 and a strike rate of 74.48. His strike rate is the lowest it has been in a decade, and his average is the lowest it has been in a calendar year since 2019.

The veteran southpaw, who is under a lot of pressure, has not benefited from the performances of young stars like Shubman Gill.

Dhawan is 37 years old, so India might be ready to make some brave decisions at this point. In the lead-up to the 2023 World Cup, these are three left-field options to replace Shikhar Dhawan as an opener.

#3 Prithvi Shaw

Prithvi Shaw, who has always started innings, might not be considered “left-field” as such. However, given where the selectors appear to be with regard to the diminutive opener, it would be surprising to see him surpass Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad to become a regular in one-day internationals.

With Mumbai, Shaw did not have a great Vijay Hazare Trophy season, posting scores of 26, 5, 32, 54, 39, 51, and 10. His wellness is generally an idea, similar to his ability to handle it. However, the 23-year-old batter has the X-factor that few batters do.

Shaw could be ideal for a World Cup in the subcontinent because he is capable of destroying any bowling attack on his day.

He could have an effect like the one Virender Sehwag had back in 2011, however, he should have a run of games leading the pack up to the competition. Nevertheless, selecting him over Dhawan will be a positive move for India.

#2 Rishabh Pant

In ODI cricket, Rishabh Pant has only opened the batting once, scoring a disappointing 18 (34). However, in the long run, using the southpaw at the top of the lineup might be a good idea.

Since the beginning of 2021, Pant’s ODI returns in the middle order have been impressive, but Shreyas Iyer appears to have secured the No.4 spot despite his weak short-ball. Shreyas is flanked by KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, with Hardik Pandya at No.6, a specialist wicketkeeper might not fit into India’s middle order.

Although Pant doesn’t appear to be in great shape at the moment, a long run as the opener could bring out the best in him.

#1 Washington Sundar

India needs some batters who can roll their arms over right now. Since players like Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli, and Shreyas may not be up to the task, why not develop a player who is?

In any ODI innings, Washington Sundar guarantees 10 overs, though Rohit may bizarrely choose to give him only 5 at times. He has also played in the top order of domestic cricket for Tamil Nadu and is a technically proficient left-hander.

Although Washington may not offer the same purpose as the other two candidates on this list, placing him in the top five could resolve one of India’s most pressing issues. If the Men in Blue have the faith to give him a longer run, he should be able to succeed as the opener.

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