Shikhar Dhawan Determined for Comeback After Asian Games Exclusion

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Senior Indian batsman Shikhar Dhawan found himself excluded from India’s Asian Games squad, prompting a mix of shock and determination within the seasoned cricketer. As the country’s first-choice players concentrate on preparations for the upcoming ODI World Cup on home soil, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) unveiled a squad dominated by young talents for the Hangzhou Asian Games scheduled for September-October.

Dhawan surprised by his exclusion but excited for Ruturaj Gaikwad

The 37-year-old southpaw, who had previously led the second-string India team, expressed his initial surprise at the decision but quickly transitioned into acceptance mode. “When my name was not there (for Asian Games), I was a bit shocked. But, then, I was like they have a different thought process, you just have to accept it,” Dhawan remarked in a candid conversation with PTI. 

Despite the unexpected turn of events, Dhawan remains optimistic and supportive of his fellow teammates. He conveyed his satisfaction with Ruturaj Gaikwad’s appointment as captain and expressed confidence in the abilities of the young squad members. “Happy that Rutu (Gaikwad) will lead the side. All the young boys are there, I am sure they will do well,” Dhawan added. 

The seasoned cricketer, who has significantly contributed to India’s ODI success over the past decade, finds himself in a period of transition as the team appears to move on to a new phase. Dhawan’s exclusion from the squad follows his change from being a one-format player after being dropped from the ODI side post the Bangladesh tour in December 2022. 

Dhawan working towards honing his skills

Undeterred by the recent setback, Dhawan maintains his focus and readiness for a potential national comeback. “I will be ready, of course (for the comeback). That is why I keep myself fit (so whenever I get a chance I am ready). There is always a chance whether it is one percent or 20 percent,” Dhawan asserted, highlighting his dedication to the sport and his preparedness for any opportunity. 

“I still enjoy training and I still enjoy the game, these are the things in my control. Whatever decision is made, I respect that,” he said, exemplifying his positive outlook and commitment to the game. Dhawan, a centrally-contracted cricketer, remains devoted to honing his skills at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), a place he credits for shaping his illustrious career. 

Should a national comeback elude him, Dhawan has his sights set on securing an IPL trophy for the Punjab Kings, a challenge he eagerly embraces. The cricketer also expressed his eagerness to participate in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy and the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy ahead of the IPL. 

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