India's Shikhar Dhawan plays a shot during the third T20 cricket match between India and Sri Lanka at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium in Pune.
India's Shikhar Dhawan plays a shot during the third T20 cricket match between India and Sri Lanka at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium in Pune.
Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP

Pune: There are three aspirants for the two opening slots and all of them are equally good. The experienced Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma. What gives the Delhiite the edge is his being a southpaw. Talking about the race for the openers, Dhawan, who scored 57 in the third T20 against Sri Lanka in Pune, said that being a left-hander makes a big difference and improves his chances of being picked.

“Rohit and Rahul are very good and so am I. Being left-handed does make a difference," he said. Dhawan failed to impress in the second T20 against the Islanders in Indore, but made up in Pune, as he, along with Rahul, gave India a good start, scoring 97 runs for the opening stand.

India has always opted to bowl after winning the toss but on Friday, skipper Virat Kohli lost the toss and India was put to bat first. Speaking of batting first, Dhawan said, “We wanted to bat first because we want to refine ourselves thus and win more games by doing so, as it brings more confidence."

"So that is why, consciously, we are doing it and the result is in front of you -- we are winning even while batting first. Setting big targets is a boost for the team and makes things easy for the bowlers, which according to him, is perfect teamwork.

Team India surprised many pundits in the third T20 by promoting Sanju Samson to No. 3, ahead of Kohli. Incidentally, six different players have been tried at this crucial spot, in six matches on the trot. “Keeping in mind playing the Australians at home, the think tank is looking at trying out different players for this position,” Dhawan said.

"I'm sure the management wants to try out other players. Today (Friday) also, we wanted to try other players who haven't batted in the series and give them a fair chance because we're only left with five T20 (actually over 12) games," he said.

When specifically asked if the move by the team management was to give every player game time or whether there was a Plan B for the World Cup, he said, the idea was to give players more time in the middle.

"It is to give players more time, like how Sanju Samson came in today (at number 3) and then Shreyas (Iyer), so they can get more time in the middle because it is a totally different field when you are batting in the match and having more overs, so that was the reason today.

"The last game was quite normal and before that, I was not on the team, so I didn't watch the matches as well and did not know what was happening. But about today's game, I can say, that was the reason.

"Even Manish Pandey went up. So they can have more time, otherwise, the same pattern is on," said Dhawan, explaining the rationale behind the management's move.

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