Former India wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer has picked opener Shikhar Dhawan and all-rounder, Hardik Pandya, as his first two picks for India’s squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021 which will be played in UAE and Oman in October-November.
The tournament which was supposed to be played in India had to be shifted to the desert nations due to the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the country which also led to the BCCI shifting the second half of the IPL 2021 to UAE, which will precede the ICC event.
Engineer while speaking to Sports Tak, said that both Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya have already proven themselves worthy of selection. And that they will be the first two names in his India squad for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021.
“Sure, most definitely yes, without the slightest doubt. Infact, Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya will be the first two names that I would put for the T20 World Cup. Because they are class players, they have proven themselves along with the likes of Kohli, Bumrah and Shami. We’ve got a squad of 16-20 players who are all very good,” Engineer said.
India has already played their final T20 as a team during their tour of Sri Lanka and the Indian players will then have the IPL as a medium to prepare for the event, where they have been drawn with arch-rivals Pakistan, New Zealand, and Afghanistan as of now.
When You Can Leave Two High-Class Players Like Shikhar Dhawan And Hardik Pandya Out, It Shows How Much Quality India Cricket Has: Farokh Engineer
The former wicketkeeper, who was part of the Indian team which beat England in England for the first time in a Test series in their own backyard in 1971, hailed the depth the current Indian cricket system has.
This depth in India’s bench strength led to questions being raised over the potential involvement of Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya for the T20 World Cup. With the rise of KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, and even Virat Kohli stating that he’d like to open the innings, Dhawan has fallen behind in the queue.
On the other hand, Hardik Pandya’s inability to bowl consistently due to a persistent injury is not good for India’s team balance, putting his spot in the T20 World Cup in doubt. Farokh Engineer believes that when the question of dropping such high-class players arises, the squad depth of the team has to be appreciated.
“When you can leave high-class players, top players like Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya, if you can leave these two, who would walk into any Test team in the world, it shows how much depth we have. That shows how much quality we have in our Indian cricket,” he added.