Former India head coach Ravi Shastri believes that Punjab Kings' senior opener Shikhar Dhawan deserves all the accolades which have been coming for him.
Shastri added that while Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have received a lot of attention with their batting, Dhawan has been a serious player sandwiched between the two talismanic batters.
Dhawan has been in rollicking form for Punjab in IPL 2022, amassing 302 runs in eight matches at an average of 43.14 and strike-rate of 132.45. In Punjab's 11-run win over Chennai Super Kings, Dhawan smashed an unbeaten 88 off 59 balls and carried his bat throughout the innings in a changed batting approach from his side to post a challenging 187/6.
"I call him a gun player because in this country most of the accolades have gone to Rohit and Virat, but this man has been a serious player right between them when he's fit. He deserves all the accolades he's getting. He's scored 6000 runs in IPL. He reads the conditions (very well), sees what the pitch has to offer, understands what his role is and he chooses the right bowlers to hit," said Shastri on Cricket Live show on Star Sports.
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In agreement with Shastri, former India pacer Irfan Pathan lauded Punjab's changed batting approach against Chennai, where the side full of power-hitters shed their ultra-attacking approach and looked to build innings around Dhawan.
"Punjab Kings are the most explosive team in the powerplay this season and the reason behind it is Shikhar Dhawan's batting. Their approach has been very simple in TATA IPL 2022 i.e. to build their innings around Dhawan, who is looking to bat deep. While Dhawan continues to play his natural game, the rest of the batsmen are providing that supporting act and looking to score aggressively in the death overs."
Ex-England skipper Kevin Pietersen helped praise on Dhawan, who became just the second cricketer after Kohli to amass 6000 runs in the history of IPL, saying he makes the best balls look ordinary.
"Best players, no matter where you're bowling (to them), make some of the best deliveries look ordinary. That's something which some of the best batters have, and he's one of those guys. He has that (extra) time, that skill and that orthodox nature whereby it doesn't even look that he's hitting the ball hard."