Rishi Dhawan selected to fill the void of quality all-rounders in ODI side
India has been suffering to produce a proper all-rounder since the departure of Yuvraj Singh from the ODI circuit. With the important tour of Australia coming up in 2016, selectors had to put their money on youngsters and all-rounder Rishi Dhawan was the most deserving one according to them. This dearth proved to be a chance for the uncapped player to get his maiden call-up to serve his nation across the globe.
It would be surprising to know that Dhawan started out as a top-order batsman but now, records state that he is the second highest wicket-taker from his state of Himachal Pradesh. Standing just behind Vikramjeet Malik in the list of all-time wicket-takers for Himachal Pradesh, he has been the highest wicket-taker for his state in the Ranji Trophy for the last 4 years. Knowing he had an initial desire to bat in the top order, he even flourished there as he possesses a triple-digit-score in Cooch Behar Trophy. His domestic season performances have earned him a spot in the ODI squad that would be touring Australia starting January 12.
“It’s a great feeling to be a part of the Indian squad. I feel my performances in the domestic circuit have been recognized. I will try my best to justify my selection. International cricket is the toughest test, but I feel I am better prepared now,” Dhawan said.
Rishi Dhawan has played in Australia before when he represented India “A” in the quadrangular series last year. His unbeaten knock of 56 (55 balls, 4 x 4s) along with a match-winning stand of 93 with fellow all-rounder Axar Patel resulted in India, winning the finals of the Quadrangular series.
Talking about his abilities, Dhawan says, “I consider myself to be a genuine all-rounder. I have batted at the top in junior cricket and this season I have started batting in the middle-order, which gives me more opportunities to prove my credentials with the bat”. The dearth of all-rounders who can bat for long has been troubling the Indian Captain MS Dhoni, but Dhawan could prove to be the solution. Dhawan averages over 40 with the bat in First Class cricket, while his average in List A matches is close to 40. Add to that his impressive strike-rate of 94.69 and you know why Dhawan can do a good job especially on wickets which have movement. He averages 25.79 with the ball in First Class and 31 in the List A.
Like other cricketers, Rishi couldn’t evade criticism as pundits state that the all-rounder can only contribute when he plays in home conditions or at those grounds where the conditions favour his playing style. The 25-year strongly replied, “I don’t play all the matches there. You only get to play half of your matches at your home ground. See, my job is to perform. I have bowled in all kinds of conditions in India and have taken wickets. I have also scored runs in different conditions,”
IPL has forever been criticized for being the tournament which favours money and entertainment over actual cricket, but Dhawan feels otherwise. Having played for Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab, he feels IPL helped him grow as a cricketer. “IPL is a great platform if you want to learn and improve your game. You get to learn so many things from the legends of the game. When I was in MI, Sachin Paaji always told me to concentrate equally on both bowling and batting. Even in Kings XI Punjab, I have worked hard on my game with Sanjay (Bangar) sir. To watch players like Virender Sehwag, Ricky Ponting, Mitchell Johnson prepare for the game is a great experience. Hopefully, those things will help me when I play for my country,” he said.
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