Once a modern ODI great, Shikhar Dhawan has faded away unnoticed
Formerly an indispensable part of India's ODI batting trinity alongside Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, today Shikhar Dhawan finds no place, and no role, in the side headed into the World Cup
Dhawan, modern ODI great and one of only eight batters in the format's history with over 5000 runs at a 40-plus average and a 90-plus strike rate hasn't played for India since the Chattogram ODI last December
If you don't remember Dhawan's 3 off eight in Chattogram, it's probably because any memory of it has been obliterated by Ishan Kishan's 210 off 131.
Dhawan was playing for India less than a year ago, but it already feels like he played in another era. It's exactly how the world felt after Sachin Tendulkar's last ODI
Dhawan had scored a rollicking 187 on Test debut, and earned an ODI recall after five mostly forgettable games in 2010 and 2011.
That comeback year, 2013, was something like Gill's 2023: 1162 runs at 50.52 and a strike rate of 97.89. When he brought up his fifth ODI hundred that November, Dhawan had played just 28 games
From that prolific 2013 until the 2019 World Cup, Dhawan stood more or less toe to toe with Rohit among the world's foremost ODI openers
In this six-year-period, while Dhawan scored at 85.95 in the first ten overs, Rohit went at 69.52 - slower than, in ascending order of strike rates
Shikhar Dhawan played just two games in 2019 World Cup and exited the tournament with a fractured thumb sustained while scoring 117 against Australia.
Dhawan's returns diminished in the years since that World Cup, though, his run-scoring slowing down markedly, age perhaps catching up with a game
In the current ODI cycle, his strike rate of 81.75 is the lowest of the ten India batters who have scored at least 500 runs
Rohit and Dhawan, then, has given way to Rohit and Gill, a partnership that reflects both the accelerated rhythms of ODIs in general
Both Rohit and Gill have struck at above 93 in the powerplay during this ODI cycle, and at above 100 overall.