Roller-Coaster Of A Career:
One just cannot say that Shikhar Dhawan’s career has been a stop-start career. Instead, it would be safe to say that it has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride for him. The left-handed batsman, after getting a second bite at the cherry, had taken the world by storm with his attacking strokeplay and the zeal to do well in all formats.
The 174-ball 187 runs knock on his debut against Australia was followed by even a better performance in 2013 Champions Trophy where he scored two centuries and a fifty to finish the tournament as its highest run-getter. The impressive run continued and he carried his sizzling form in 2015 World Cup also. But then came 2016 and everything went wrong for him.
Things began to go in the wrong directing when he was dropped for the Port of Spain Test last August after managing just 138 runs from four innings. He sat out during the Kanpur Test against New Zealand but was handed a lifeline in Kolkata after injury ruled KL Rahul out of the contest. However, the southpaw could not capitalise on it, managing one and 17. A thumb injury in that match made him sit on the sidelines before he returned back to the familiar grounds of Ranji Trophy to prove himself. He got a chance to win back his place during the England series earlier this year but failed once again.
However, a magnificent run in this year’s IPL helped him to get a call for the Champions Trophy and the 31-year old has not looked back since then. Since the start of the Champions Trophy, he’s averaged 69.71 with one century and four fifties in seven innings.
‘I knew My Place Was In Danger’
Dhawan was a guaranteed starter in the playing eleven last year. However, the Delhi star was under no illusion that a string of poor performances would cost him his place in the team.
“When I wasn’t doing well, I knew that if I’m not going to do well I will be out of the side. I knew my place is in danger. I felt I was rushing towards things rather than things coming to me. And once I was out, I was out. I couldn’t do anything about it. Then I went back and started playing domestic cricket and began enjoying it a lot more,” he said ahead of the third ODI against West Indies.
Recalling the yesteryear when he struggled to break into the national side, Dhawan added:
“I knew Viru bhai and Gautam bhai were at their peak, it was their time. I got a chance, I never thought Viru bhai is going to be dropped from the side or anyone. It is nature. Then it happened with me and I got dropped too.”
‘Was frustrated Not To Score For Delhi’
Dhawan did not enjoy a good comeback in the Ranji Trophy, not managing a single fifty in the first five innings. The outing in the Vijay Hazare Trophy was not fruitful as well but the Gabbar of international cricket roared back in form in Deodhar Trophy with scores of 128, 50 and 45.
“You heard that always as kids, about how you need to keep performing and knocking, tak tak tak tak and that’s what I was doing. Before IPL I scored a century and a quickfire 46 and all that stuff. But I couldn’t score in all those one-day games for Delhi. So I was frustrated. I knew I was working hard and things weren’t falling the way I wanted. But from Deodhar Trophy, it started coming my way and then I knew I have performed well for few months and I have to keep performing to come back, he pointed out.
Confident Of Leaving Behind His Competitors:
Dhawan lost his place in Test to KL Rahul last year. The Karnataka batsman has now forged a solid partnership with Murali Vijay but Dhawan is confident of making a comeback.
“I know that it’s a race that never ends. I can always come back. If someone has gone ahead of me, I can go ahead of them again. And that’s how my mentality is,” he said.
“I haven’t played too many Tests but I still average 38 in that format. And I feel one more big knock and that’ll go up to 40. It’s just that other players did better when I wasn’t doing too well,” he added.
The southpaw also spoke on the infamous rift between captain Virat Kohli and former coach Anil Kumble that ultimately led to the latter resigning from his post. Just a couple of days after Champions Trophy, Kumble decided to part ways with the team, citing Kohli’s reservations with his style of functioning. Kohli has remained silent on the whole issue and Dhawan also maintained the same stance.
“I didn’t play much under Anil Kumble, so cannot comment on that. Moreover, I just focus on the game. Everyone has their own individuality and character. Anil Bhai, Dhoni Bhai and Virat, of course, all are different,” he said.