Shikhar Dhawan has a mere two half-centureis in 22 T20 Internationals © PTI
Shikhar Dhawan has a mere two half-centureis in 22 T20 Internationals © PTI

There is not much time left before the blockbuster semi-final between India and West Indies at Wankhede, Mumbai. All the hype surrounding this fixture has been about ‘Destroyer’ Chris Gayle and ‘Master of Chase’ Virat Kohli. Analysts and critics alike are going on talking about the key clashes, nature of pitch, likely XI’s, captaincy and what not. But one point which has gone under the radar from Indian side’s view has been talks about Shikhar Dhawan. The Delhi-born opener will consider himself lucky to not have the spotlight on himself, at a time when his form has been nothing short of disastrous. Yet, considering his past record in ‘Big games’, it feels safe enough to say he shall play the semi-final, as it is his type of game, and every Indian will look upon him to fire. FULL SCORECARD: India vs West Indies, 2nd Semi-Final match

To put things clear, Dhawan’s recent form has been quite poor, which in itself is a overstatement. With a mere 43 runs in the 4 innings, he must be thanking his stars for a spot in the team. Luckily for India, the shortcomings of Dhawan hasn’t affected the side’s results, which is more due to the sheer genius of Kohli. Yes, it’s true India have played most of their matches in ‘bowling friendly’ pitches, but that does not serve as an excuse for such a poor showing. While Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina haven’t been any better, Dhawan’s patch of poor form comes very often.

Dhawan’s T20I record won’t do much good either, with an average of 20.80 and a strike rate of 113.35 after 22 innings. For a player who was expected to fill in the boots of Virender Sehwag and get India off to quick starts, Dhawan has more or less every time added pressure to his partner and batsmen below him. What’s more worrying apart from not scoring any runs, has been his strike in this tournament. His 43 runs overall have come off 52 balls, at a strike rate of 82.6, atrociously/horribly poor from T20 standards. ALSO READ: India take on West Indies in high-profile semi-final clash of T20 World Cup 2016

Despite so many shortcomings and issues with Dhawan, one cannot deny the fact whenever he gets going, he scores big. His power was at show against Bangladesh in the final of Asia Cup 2016, when he tore into the opposition bowlers chasing 120 in 15 overs. His 44-ball 60 was the platform India needed to win the game. In the past as well, he has shown he has it in him to give India fast starts. His 32-ball 42 earlier in Australia, as well as a 25 ball 51 against Sri Lanka are prime example why Indian team has put so much faith in him.

To add to that, in ODI’s, he has time and time again proved he is a quality player. The big game player tag was attached to him after his crucial knocks in important games during the 2013 Champions Trophy, which India won. He was also very successful in the 2015 World Cup, scoring loads of runs as India reached the semi-finals. His knock especially against South Africa was amazing, as he showed great temperament and skill.

It’s true, on his day, Dhawan can blow away any opposition. There has never been any question regarding his capability. But the only worry with him remains is consistency, which sadly, he is yet to discover in the T20I’s. The semi-final game against West Indies will see everyone expecting runs from him, considering the Wankhede has always been a ‘run-fest’. It’s safe to say, Dhawan has no option other than to fire against West Indies, otherwise his days in T20 Indian side will surely be over.

(R Narayan is a reporter with CricketCountry, and is an ardent cricket and football enthusiast (big Manchester United fan). Having followed Cricket since 2003, he likes high scoring matches as well as good fast bowling. His twitter handle is @RNarayan24nov)