Australia in India 2012-13

'Mature' Dhawan looks to grab Test chance

Siddhartha Talya

February 11, 2013

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

Shikhar Dhawan celebrates a century on the first day, North Zone v West Zone, Duleep Trophy, 1st day, Chennai, October 6, 2012
Shikhar Dhawan: "My mental strength has increased a lot" © K Sivaraman
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Shikhar Dhawan, the left-hand opener, was told he had been picked in the India Test squad for the series against Australia shortly after the tea break during the just-concluded Irani Cup. He welcomed the news, he said, with a big smile, but knowing he was a slightly changed cricketer than he was when picked to represent India for the first time, more than two years ago in an ODI against Australia. "I've become more mature, my cricket sense has improved and that's helped my consistency level go up," he told ESPNcricinfo.

Dhawan last played for India in June 2011 - he averages 13.8 in five ODIs - and had a mixed domestic season in 2011-12, smashing a hundred at better than a run a ball in each innings of the Irani Cup before having a low-key Ranji Trophy during which he averaged 32.88 in 10 innings.

However, his performances this season have caught the selectors' eye. He scored a century in each of North Zone's two games in the Duleep Trophy, hit two hundreds and a fifty for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy at 51.22, scored a century against England XI in a warm-up limited-overs game and made a solid 63 in the first innings of the Irani Cup.

Though his skills haven't changed much in his time outside the Indian team, Dhawan said he has grown more determined to rectify any mistakes during batting or while at the nets. "I write down how I played, little details about the way I batted, the way I was feeling," he said. "As I practice for the longer forms, I make sure I leave a lot more in the nets, stay on the wicket, play close to my body, and try to hit shots to balls that are within reach. My mental strength has increased a lot."

While out of the Indian side, Dhawan, now 27, has seen cricketers younger than him - Virat Kohli, a Delhi team-mate, and Cheteshwar Pujara - establish themselves in the national team. He says he was never discouraged, and now could get an opportunity to become a regular himself. "I was sad for myself that I didn't make it because I always knew I had the potential."

Dhawan was bowled off an inside-edge in the first innings of the Irani Cup when he looked set for a three-figure score, and fell in the first over in the second innings, caught at mid-on while trying to pull. "I felt sad as a batsman, I had got in touch [in the first innings] and wanted to make it big [in the second]," but there was elation not long after. That duck was a rare lapse in a successful domestic first-class season, one that has ended for Dhawan receiving a call-up that every aspiring Indian cricketer longs for.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2013, 6:40 GMT)

I have seen this guy bat, can't play long innings, I would be surprised if he plays two sessions in any of test match he gets to play!!

Posted by Nampally on (February 13, 2013, 21:43 GMT)

Congrats on selection into Squad, Shikhar. Hopefully Dhoni will not bench you, as is his customary punishment for all new comers.Pujara did his "term" on the Bench in his 3 ODI's vs. England.If he benches Pujara again he has no batting to play the Aussie bowlers. India needs to develop replacement batsmen after the departure of Dravid & Laxman & impending one of Tendulkar. The 3 guys I like to see are Pujara, Kohli & Tiwary. There are 6 contenders for 2 wide open slots due to Sehwag & Gambhir's awful batting during the past 18 months. So it is best to try out all 6 guys by rotation instead of benching them. It is futile to continue with Dhoni as the Test Captain after his 1-11 Test record & his total inability to develop players to fit into missing spots.He revels in dropping prospective young talented players like Rahul .S., Rahane, Tiwary. Now you never hear of Rahul- who might have given up Cricket after being benched about 20 times by MSD. Most Disappointing Selection committee!

Posted by nyc_missile on (February 13, 2013, 20:31 GMT)

@ MunafAhmed811 Absolutely spot on buddy! Liabilities Dhoni,Sehwag & Sachin must be kicked out..Rahane,Rohit & Rayudu must be given enough opportunities as they have the class and pedigree for tests.

Posted by nyc_missile on (February 13, 2013, 18:47 GMT)

So will Dhoni play him? Or will he go with his favorite Vijay ? Also will Dhoni stop being selfish and come up the order rather than hiding at no 7 after all damage is done?

Posted by   on (February 13, 2013, 14:41 GMT)

i think 11 players for india to open the first test should be v.sehwag,m.vijay,c.pujara,v.kholi,s.tendulkar,ms.dhoni,r.jadeja,r.ashwin,p.ojha,b.kumar,i.sharma

Posted by AjitDJ on (February 13, 2013, 10:07 GMT)

Will be surprised if Dhawan gets into the Final-XI. There are 3 players everybody wants out - Vijay, Ashwin and Dinda. But Dhoni just keeps picking them again and again. So not just Dhawan, even Harbhajan and Bhuvaneshwar probably won't get a chance to play.

Posted by   on (February 12, 2013, 18:36 GMT)

For India to really become a top side they will have to come up with quick fast bowlers.Fast bowlers win you test matches,its as simple as that.No matter if they have the best batting line up,they need speedsters and quick bowlers

Posted by MunafAhmed811 on (February 12, 2013, 17:37 GMT)

Rohit , Rahane , Rayudu all 3 are quality test material and need to be in test team asa to partner Kohli , Pujara for top 5 slots. Dhoni and Sehwag and 10dulkar should all retire gracefully now from test match team

Posted by TRAM on (February 12, 2013, 16:39 GMT)

I think it is worth if Dhoni will let Dhawan and Vijay open the innings and push Sehwag to 4-6. One it fulfils Sewag's wish and who knows he might make a great come back facing the old ball. His come back means India is guaranteed win. Two, it also helps evaluate the 2 openers quicker and in similar conditions. Of course this approach makes 2 out of the 3 middle bats Pujara/Rahane/Jadeja sit in the bench. But that is due to SRT holding his place.

Posted by   on (February 12, 2013, 15:17 GMT)

as i looked his playing style in past he nicks too many to keeper,bowled quite a few times ,poor international record to add to it is poor ranji this year. i don,t have high hopes from this guy. i would rather give young jiwanjot singh or experinced jaffar a chance.jiwanjot the highest scorer opener in ranji is worth taking risk as compare to dhawan,vijay or rahane.jaffar is 35 but in form & u cannot ignore form which most the indian don't have it now

Posted by Hash_Tag on (February 12, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

I like this guy. Lets see how he goes. I'm sure that Pujara will do well also. Come on put the woes behind lets beat Australia like we always do!

Posted by india2008_2008 on (February 12, 2013, 9:55 GMT)

Dhoni should open in test with jadeja/ashwin as they are in good batting form and shewag and dhawan should bat at 6 and 7

Posted by   on (February 12, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

Its good to c dhawan here, we hv seen vijay,mukund & rahane, these guys are all gud cricketers but not gud enough to replace gambhir n sehwag.... dropping sehwag in odi & now dropping gambhir in test matches is a very clear message for these 2 to not think their place in d team for granted. Rahane is a middle order batsman & should be given a chance at 5 or 6 ahead of jadeja............

Posted by RockcityGuy on (February 12, 2013, 9:50 GMT)

If CSK's good enough to be the best domestic t20 team in the country then their players must be good enough to represent our country. As if Harbhajan has done anything of worth in the last 5 yrs.. PLZ STOP THIS REGIONALISM DEBATE....WE"RE ONE FREE UNITED COUNTRY for goodness' sake....

Posted by bharatwasi7799 on (February 12, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

I think..i am not worried about what bcci doing with other countries,,but what i know ,,whats happening with indian players is not a good sign for cricket,,,one after one ..new match...every month new series coming up,,,when players can rest,,,even a car or bike also need repair to retain efficiency,,,,players are also humanbeing,,,why not bcci plan whole year according to players rest also..after every series,,,there should be 45 - 60 days rest,,,,which is must,,,see dhoni..hows he looking like old man..due to restless,,,,we will loose great players due to such busy schedule of bcci..bcci only thinking about money....but who will think about our great crickters..they are also human mr bcci....shame on such board,,,who never care about own players health..shame ...,,

Posted by mjrvasu on (February 12, 2013, 8:16 GMT)

Anybody remember Pujara? He is good for long haul games.

Posted by RD_TEST_CRIC_FOREVER on (February 12, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

I m not sure abt lobby and other things abt selection....... bt Really feel for Ajinkya Rahane......... he will be wasted like rohit sharma....... orginal breed of test playing ability moulded to play shorter formats.......... Good luck to Dhawan...... Hope he makes the chance worth.........

Posted by SherjilIslam on (February 12, 2013, 7:13 GMT)

@Dhanno: Excellent assessment.I hope BCCI selectors and Administrators also give a look at the espncricinfo blogs before important series.Some of the assessments and suggestions are absolutely spot on. In doing so they can at-least know with their bizzare selection policies, Indian cricket is losing it's precious fan base, with Test cricket being the biggest loser.I have no high hopes of fans turning up in large numbers to witness the test series.I am hopeful about Chennai and Delhi but tests in Hyd and Mohali would be played with empty stands.

Posted by NKSathya on (February 12, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

Shikar Dhawan surely is not more solid than Murali Vijay or Jaffer or Mukund! It is a shame that he has been selected ahead of these blokes!! Suresh Raina surely must have gotten into the team. He is the best middle-order bat in the country now and Ambati Rauyudu is 2nd best. It is a shame that both these guys weren't selected!! Take it or not, CSK players are match saviours for India always...either MSD or Raina or Ashwin...because they are more responsible and play more sensibly. So it makes sense to have more CSK players in Indian team to save India's face!! It is a real shame that India these kind of selectors now...who are virtually mind-less when it comes to team selection....At least half the players in the 15 selected now for Chennai Test shouldn't be there....What a shame!!! So everyone be ready for yet another AUSSIE THRASHING!! And Sehwag surely won't perform because MSD is the captain!!!

Posted by   on (February 12, 2013, 6:34 GMT)

Feel pity for the people who tells rahane is the opening batsman, how many times selectors need to confirm this guys, that rahane is not a opening batsman, he is a middle order player, he is just a opener in ipl, he is 3rd 4 th down player, probably waiting for sachin to retire to fill that spot, so please stop saying rahane as a opener

Posted by   on (February 12, 2013, 6:20 GMT)

@aravind, I dont know why these ppl always like this, As per your thought only 4 players are from and only two from Tamilnadu, and the selections are nothing to do with csk bias or tn bias, Even the star player of csk (raina) itself not selected, M Vijay was the reserve opener for the past 3 years, even bfr he played in ipl, and talking abt WI tour, everybody failed in the WI tour, so no point in blaming dhawan or vijay, now both are matured, I am sure they are better replacements of sehwag gambhir, thank god, ppl not yet started telling of dhawan selection is due to the influence of sun risers from TN

Posted by   on (February 12, 2013, 5:59 GMT)

I want to wish Dhawan the best. All he has to do is exactly the opposite of Rohit and he'll be fine! With all due respect, I don't think much of a professional who blows so many opportunities. Rohit may have an extra second to play his shots...but frankly, I don't have the patience!

Posted by Rbak_SRT on (February 12, 2013, 5:48 GMT)

@Aravind Rhys: sub standard WI attack??? (included Rampaul, Edwards, Sammy, Taylor) "similar tracks in West Indies", You mean similar to Indian flat spinning tracks, may be you need some cricket knowledge !!! Agree there are better players than Vijay who shd have been given a Run, His Ranji runs were Handful but he made it big when it counted scoring two big knocks in Irani cup.

Posted by Sandt on (February 12, 2013, 4:56 GMT)

How is Vijay and Dhawan coming into picture when you have Rahane in the side. He is as opener and the best option for long term. Also please dont write off Sehwag. He is still the best opener we have in India. Dont think that he cannot score. Against England he had scored century in first test where India won. Then he had good starts in all tests. what he need to do is to bat little cautious and if bats like that a huge score in on the cards.And the advantage we will be having is the mentalally AUS will be in back foot till he is in the crease. i believe he is the best and matcvh winner for India in test in current side.

Posted by   on (February 12, 2013, 4:08 GMT)

@Sathish Velu....Murali vijay last played a test series against a sub standard WI attack in similar tracks in West Indies.....he was a misfit there......couldn't play a solid stroke.....just IPL trash...selected jus' coz he was CSK player....his mediocre Ranji record speaks for itself....and Suresh Raina doesn't deserve a chance in tests.....he is a spectacular failure after scoring a century in a drab draw on a placid wicket without SL's main bowlers...he just plays well in odi in the sub-continent..another case of CSK bias

Posted by   on (February 12, 2013, 3:37 GMT)

Another sub standard opener on cards after many starting from SS Das, Debang Gandhi, Vikram Rathore (of old), Mukund, Vijay (of now). He may score few in India but will certainly come a cropper abroad. No technique with little foot movement will land him nowhere. Jaffer, the best test opener in recent past shall remain in sidelines and the sordid saga of failure of top order shall continue!

Posted by Prats6 on (February 12, 2013, 3:17 GMT)

I hope for his sake & Indian cricket sake he can come good. But with the evidence of watching him play the last time in WI, it was embarrassing to see him miss the ball by the proverbial mile. All the Best.

Posted by   on (February 12, 2013, 2:39 GMT)

People who are commenting about M Vijay, should know that he is not given many chances in Tests, he has played only 13 tests that too not in a complete series, whenever any of the top three batsman was injured or unwell, he filled that spot, and performed, he last played in test against aussie and his score was 139, and ppl who seen him thrash the bowlers in ipl may think he is just a t20 player, but it's not the truth, he is primarily a test player and adapted to t20 mode bcoz of ipl, ppl who ask abt vijay's selection first shud know he is a big match player and a match winner, and one more thing chennai is MV's favourite hunting ground. he might have played there from childhood, so let him give a chance in chennai test, well we can see how he performs, then we all decide, dhawan and vijay will be great opening partners in all three formats

Posted by agarkarno1 on (February 12, 2013, 2:33 GMT)

India is not a land of producing quality left handers ( in tests). Sourav Ganguly... Naa...! He was never an accomplished test batsman... Couldnot see any left hander who has played more than 75 tests (other than Ganguly) in the history..! All greats Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Vengsarkar, Sachin, Dravid, all are righties. Any reason for this??? In the last ten years or so, we have seen many lefties making cut into the Indian team like Raina, Yuvi, Badani, Dinesh Mongia, Sriram, Ramesh, Kanitkar, Gambhir, for sure the numbers are higher than that of the right handers. I could say the reason is domestic bowlers find it difficult to bowl to the left handers and they make merry in the local matches but when they face international bowlers they just poke outside offstump or getting out on bouncers. I dont see Dhawan could be exception but would be happy if he is..!

Posted by   on (February 12, 2013, 0:11 GMT)

i dont think dhawan has the spark like rahane to be an international cricketer. there are enough batsman out there with maybe a little less average but better than the high scoring ones.

Posted by class9ryan on (February 12, 2013, 0:01 GMT)

Dhawan surely cannot match up in form Gambhir. Gambhir's form has actually created this drama about the opening slot. At the moment Dhawan can be good enough but there is possibility of Vijay and Viru playing the the 1st 2 tests and Dhawan will have to wait.

Posted by xylo on (February 11, 2013, 23:54 GMT)

I believe every young aspiring cricketer should get a chance to fail and learn, rather than an old and frail Sachin Tendulkar to fail and not learn. Good luck to Dhawan, and let us hope that he can make it count.

Posted by JustIPL on (February 11, 2013, 23:19 GMT)

Congrats Dhawan but you will not be facing ranji level bowlers against the aussies.

Posted by GreenDeviln on (February 11, 2013, 23:04 GMT)

Dhawan has better range of shots than Gambhir, I think he will perform if get picked in playing XI but, alas! for Dhoni's habit of picking only his CSK team mates which here is Vijay.

Posted by harmske on (February 11, 2013, 22:04 GMT)

viru, rahane, vijay & dhawan - why do you need 4 openers in a squad? that too at home.

Posted by Raki99 on (February 11, 2013, 21:32 GMT)

He will struggle.....against quality fast bowling

Posted by indiatigers7 on (February 11, 2013, 21:30 GMT)

Don't be so sure about that. I think its a great decision. Gen X must be given a chance.

Posted by Rahulbose on (February 11, 2013, 21:20 GMT)

He is unlikely to get a game with Vijay in the team and Dhoni as the captain. It is no secret that these days playing for CSK gives your chances of playing for India a boost.

Posted by Prakmca on (February 11, 2013, 20:55 GMT)

Jaffer should be given chance instead of Dhawn. Just revisit his ODIs against WI. Got out cheaply.

If you are agressive in domestic cricket, stay agressive in International matches also. Don't try to adjust your game for Intl matches. You will fail.

Ex: Dhawan (against WI) and another player in this list is Rahane. Failed on many occasions beacuse of this.

Posted by Dhanno on (February 11, 2013, 20:54 GMT)

" A due consideration was given to Jaffer's current form, but the selection committee keeping an eye on future has drafted Vijay as an opener (due to brilliant century in ongoing Irani trophy). Sehwag has been rested due to prolonged stomach upsetism and Vijay will accompany Gambhir. Rohit has shown lots of promise in recent england tour and raina's two hundreds in last 5 days has earned both of them recall. Jadeja keeps his spot after impressive showing in ODIs. Harbhajan's past performance against Aus earns him recall. Rahane/ Dhawan miss out due to high competition for places. VK, Pujara, SRT are other batsman in side. Dhoni is retained as captain. We are not declaring the fast bowling squad as we have no idea who will be abroad for treatment in next weeks.

Also being home series there is no backup opener, in case gambhir is sick, rohit will be drafted in as opener. You do remember his scintillating 100 against Eng recently right ? " - COCS (Chairman Of Committee de Selection)

Posted by sportofpain on (February 11, 2013, 18:59 GMT)

@Surajdon9 - hanging someone before a crime is committed is not ok. I'm glad you are not a selector. Go well Shikar. Do the best you can and leave the rest to god.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (February 11, 2013, 18:16 GMT)

He is Just one of among indian Over rated Batsmen.We all already seen him on ODI Tour of West Indies so He can't do anything more which Gambhir can do.I'll bet he will get out cheaply on Both Matches and Gambhir will be recalled for last two matches..

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