India batter Shikhar Dhawan has revealed the first five players he would pick if he was selecting a dream XI for this year’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
Dhawan is regarded as one of the finest white-ball players in modern times and the dynamic left-hander often saves his best performances for the World Cup, with three of his 17 ODI centuries coming at the showcase 50-over event.
It was Australia that Dhawan dined out on at the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales as the aggressive opener scored a brilliant 117 at The Oval and the 37-year-old is one of just six players to have scored centuries at the two most recent tournaments, an ICC report on Monday said.
It’s no surprise that Dhawan selected two of his India teammates in his dream XI for the 2023 edition of the World Cup, while he also included one player from Australia, Afghanistan and South Africa in a well-balanced first five players.
A veteran of three World Cups and a previous winner on home soil in 2011, Kohli was an automatic selection for Dhawan in his dream XI.
“The first (picked) is Virat of course,” Dhawan said.
“He is the best batter in the world and has been scoring runs like crazy,” Dhawan added.
Just like Dhawan, Rohit also scored centuries at the two previous World Cups and the inclusion of the India captain in his dream XI is an easy one to make.
“Rohit is a very experienced customer,” Dhawan said.
“He has scored lots of runs in ICC tournaments and bilateral (series) and he’s a proven player (on the big stage),” Dhawan said.
Starc was the leading wicket-taker at the 2019 event in England and Wales with 27 scalps and Dhawan thinks the left-armer can again make an impact at the 2023 tournament.
“I’ll go for Mitchell Starc as he is one of the best fast bowlers (in the world),” Dhawan noted.
Rashid collected just six wickets in his inaugural World Cup appearance in 2019, but Dhawan believes the star spinner will be more suited to the pitches in the sub-continent.
“The fourth player will be Rashid Khan with his mystery action,” Dhawan said with a grin.
“I am sure he’ll be very, very impactful (in India) and will take lots of wickets,” he added.
While tempted to opt for Pakistan pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi, Dhawan wanted more variety in his attack and elected to go with the lion-hearted South Africa quick.
“Shaheen Afridi I wouldn’t take because then there would be two left-arm pacers, so I’ll go for Rabada,” Dhawan said.
“Rabada has that extra pace and extra bounce that is going to rush the batters,” he added.