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IND vs NZ 2022-23, Auckland ODI: 'Certain things are pre-destined' - Dhawan on irregular captaincy stint

IND vs NZ 2022-23: India and New Zealand meet in the opening Auckland ODI on Friday. While Shikhar Dhawan leads India again, he is not bothered with his irregular stand-in captaincy stint.

Nov 24, 2022, 3:14 PM IST

Stand-in Indian skipper Shikhar Dhawan has a lot of faith in God's plans. For that reason, it "didn't hurt him" when he was asked to hand back the India captaincy to wicketkeeper-opener KL Rahul during the tour of Zimbabwe a few months back. Dhawan, who usually leads the Indian One-Day International (ODI) team in the absence of Rohit Sharma, was named captain for the three-match ODI tour of Zimbabwe in August this year. But later, he was demoted by the former national selection committee once KL Rahul was declared fit and available.

"I wasn't hurt as I believe certain things are pre-destined, and whatever happens is for our good. And, if you look, after Zimbabwe, I again captained against SA at home, and the same selection committee handed me the leadership reins. So, I am not at all hurt by what transpired in Zimbabwe. There must be something good hidden somewhere [in God's design]," said Dhawan, who is back in the captain's saddle for the ODI leg of the New Zealand tour.

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Dhawan believes in counting his blessings. In the twilight phase of his career, he got a chance to lead the national team. "I am very fortunate that at this juncture of my career, I have got a chance to lead India," he said. He also explained how he rationalised Rahul's elevation in Zimbabwe, and he was kept as his deputy.

"Look, in Zimbabwe, KL was made the captain because he is the vice-captain of the primary team. And, since he was going to Asia Cup [after that series], and in case Rohit got injured over there [in UAE], and Rahul had to captain, it was better that he commanded in Zimbabwe and remained ready on the leadership front. So, I thought from that perspective that was the right thing to do," Dhawan said.

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'Can't take my place for granted even now'
A veteran of 161 ODIs, in which he has scored 6,672 runs, Dhawan, who will turn 37 on December 5, knows that the margin for error is minimal as far as he is concerned. He feels that playing just one format helps him maintain a work-life balance and stays fresh for international challenges.

"It depends on individuals. It is a blessing to play one format, giving me time to pursue other interests. I stay fresh and much stronger than when I played three formats," Dhawan said. He knows that there will be a logjam in the top order when Rohit and Rahul come back, and with him, young opener Shubman Gill, who is in great form, will also be a contender for the opening slot.

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"We now have many players across three formats representing India, and it's a good thing. Playing one format also has its challenges, but I make sure that I keep myself in the groove and don't lag behind others. I have to match the pace of the team. Otherwise, it won't be right," Dhawan said.

Dhawan and Rohit make one of the most formidable opening pairs in the current era in 50-over cricket, and he would like to keep up the excellent work alongside the regular captain. "We guys have been performing well and have been a successful pair. But I must keep performing and can't take anything for granted until I play. And that keeps me on my toes," he showed his awareness about where exactly he belongs in the ODI scheme of things.

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'Youngsters are bound to feel bad but clear communication needed'
Dhawan himself was a late bloomer in his career as he made his Test debut in 2013 and, at 27, became a regular member of the national team. He understands that waiting in the wings for too long could demoralise youngsters, and proper communication can change it.

"It is good that so many talented players are there. For me, it's all about communication from "coach saab" or the captain. There should be clarity in their reasoning. The players can be sad and bogged down. It's natural, but he would know it's done for a greater good," Dhawan concluded.

(With inputs from PTI)