He can play shots all round the wicket. He seems elegant even when he powers strokes whether toward the cover region or toward mid-wicket. In Shikhar Dhawan’s ebb rests a certain fluency that makes Rohit Sharma comfortable that with him bats one of the most bedazzling talents in world cricket.
Perhaps as fans of left-handers or of Indian cricket,
Some call him Gabbar. No, most call him Gabbar. But purely where unabashed fan-love stands. Some consider him to be the finest leftie that has opened for India, since Saurav Chandidas Ganguly. Most others feel Shikhar Dhawan is his own man; one who can stand in front of storms and continue to bat and when not coaxed by his own urgency to throw away his wicket- can rise as one himself.
There’s something uncannily attractive about a batsman who’s made moustache twirling a bit of a habit and fantastically so, outside the realm of Bollywood. During the forgettable English tour, Shikhar Dhawan wasn’t our most reliable batsman. He played 4 Tests and got a chance to bat in 8 innings but could only score 162 runs. For someone who was expected to do well, for it was, well a need more so for his own ‘survival’- and he knew it- this wasn’t the Shikhar Dhawan who had burst onto the scene scoring a ballsy 187 off 174 balls in his very first Test attempt.
There was this feeling that he wasn’t coming into the line of the ball and was perhaps displaying a bit of a fickle-mindedness on the middle. What had gone wrong with him, all wondered?
8 innings, for someone who’s been wielding the bat for half a decade- remember the debut came in 2013- is quite some time to settle down. Anyhow, the team moved on from that dismal English tour and along came the tour to Australia and just what did we find?
There was no space for Shikhar Dhawan in any of the Tests. His heart must have sunk and so would have that of his wifey with all due respect, especially since Mrs Shikhar Dhawan belongs to Australia.
But such is life.
That said, it may be worthwhile to remember a poignant quote from the 1994 musical drama, a Disney epic ‘The Lion King’: “When the world turns the back on you, Timba and Pumon tell little Simba, you turn the back on the world!”
Well, turns out that the way Shikhar Dhawan has responded of recently, it can be said, that he’s made his own sweet version of the 1994 epic. The lion that he is, it appears that Dhawan’s version reads, “When the team (actually read ‘form’) turns the back on you, you turn up against the world.”
When it was announced that Shikhar would be featuring in the series against the Kiwis, India’s next big assignment in Australasia having been Down Under, the Delhi-born 33-year-old decided to up his game.
So what do we find? Thus far, in the 5-match ODI series that his team has already clinched 3-0 with the Fourth ODI just a few hours away, Shikhar Dhawan has already registered scores of an unbeaten 75, followed by 66, and finally a 28 so far.
Therefore with 169 runs under his belt at an average of 84.5, it does appear that Gabbar is Back- does it not?
What’s more? The Kiwis still have two more ODIs to go and then there are the T20s. Any more doubters who may be fancying the idea of figuring out just how has the batsman has been faring in his last 10 games may want to note the left-hander’s recent form.
Even in the Australian T20s, Dhawan blasted knocks like that 76 at Brisbane and post sitting out for the Melbourne one-dayer, he’d fire a promising 41 at Sydney. A duck in the first ODI (that followed soon after) would lead to some finely compiled knocks of the class of that stroke 32 at Adelaide and finally, the two back-to-back fifties at Napier and Mount Maunganui.
That told, when the going gets tough- as did in Shikhar’s case- it can well be seen that Dhawan gets going. The only question now is, can he make the Kiwis pay again for the two ODIs?