After India's disappointing loss against England in the fourth Test match of the five-match series, three players find themselves in an extremely vulnerable position and are likely to find themselves out of the playing eleven for the fifth and the final Test. While the series is done and dusted, the final Test match will be a lot about salvaging lost pride and ending the series on a positive.
It is noteworthy that apart from the Lord's Test, India have been highly competitive and came extremely close to winning, often losing the game in its clutch moments. This inability to capitalise on momentum can be put down to severe inconsistency of three players in the team, who are likely to be replaced for Friday's game.
Shikhar Dhawan's last 10 Test innings read the following: 17, 23, 44, 35, 13, 26, 107, 16, 16, 67. While even KL Rahul has been inconsistent, this isn't the first time that Dhawan has had a sub-par run at the Test level.
He is one of those players that hammers a hundred on a cement deck whenever one of those gets dished up and retains his place on the back of this performance. The last one of these came against Afghanistan in Bengaluru, when India scored a mammoth 474 on a dry pitch and bundled the opposition out twice in a row.
Before this, there was the hundred against Sri Lanka in Pallekele. It is essential to realise that the left-hander's technique is simply not suited to playing the swinging ball. Dhawan finds himself constantly pushing at balls in the channel, and often edging to the slips or gully. It this is not the mode of dismissal, then there is the LBW when his head tends to fall over while playing the incoming ball.
What's worse is that he shows no effort to rectify and morph his technique to change the conditions. At 32 years of age, it looks like the end of the road for Dhawan, with young opener Prithvi Shaw included in the squad.