In absence of big guns like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan will have a point to prove in Sri Lanka. While the senior Indian contingent is in England ahead of their five-Test series against the hosts, an alternate white-ball squad, led by Dhawan will lock horns with Sri Lanka in a six-match series, starting July 18.
Dhawan’s captaincy skills will be put to test against Sri Lanka but the senior India opener may also flaunt his batting expertise against the islanders. The left-handed batsman stands just 23 runs away from achieving a major feat in One-day Internationals.
If Dhawan manages to notch up 23 runs against Sri Lanka in the first ODI on Sunday, he will become the 10th Indian batsman to reach the 6000-run mark. He currently has 5977 runs under his belt in the ODI format.
Dhawan is also on the cusp of becoming the second-fastest Indian to reach the milestone. Virat Kohli had reached the 6000-run mark in ODI cricket in 136 innings. If Dhawan also ticks the box on Sunday, he will surpass former India skipper Sourav Ganguly in the list. The Sri Lanka-India series opener will mark Dhawan’s 140th ODI innings. Ganguly had taken 147 innings to reach the milestone.
“It is a big achievement for me that I have become the captain of the Indian side. As a leader, my idea is to keep everyone together and happy that is the most important thing,” Dhawan said on the Star Sports show ‘Follow the Blues’.
“We have got a lovely bunch of boys, great support staff, and we have worked earlier as well.”
Dhawan on Sunday will also become the oldest Indian skipper on captaincy debut. He will be 35 years and 225 days old when he takes the field against Sri Lanka. Previously, Mohinder Amarnath had led the Indian team for the first time in 1984 at the age of 34 years and 37 days.
The 1st ODI between India and Sri Lanka is scheduled to take place at the R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo on Sunday.