IPL auction 2014

'Big thing that Kings XI showed faith' - Dhawan

Nagraj Gollapudi

February 13, 2014

Comments: 12 | Text size: A | A

Rishi Dhawan in his delivery stride, Mumbai Indians v Pune Warriors, IPL 2013, Mumbai, April 13, 2013
Rishi Dhawan played the IPL and Champions League T20 finals for Mumbai Indians last year © BCCI
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"Dus minute baad maine pooncha - team kaun si hain jisne mujhe liya hai?(After about ten minutes I asked which is the team that has bought me)," was the question an ecstatic Rishi Dhawan asked his relatives minutes after he was bought by Kings XI Punjab for a headline-grabbing INR 3 crore ($500,000), making him the second-richest uncapped player in the IPL after Karn Sharma.

Dhawan, the Himachal Pradesh captain and allrounder, was snatched eventually by Kings XI but not before an engrossing tug of war with Rajasthan Royals, who had joined the bidding at the INR 1.2-crore mark. The bidding was actually started by Mumbai Indians, who Dhawan had played for in the last IPL. Mumbai quit early followed by Delhi Daredevils, who also decided to leave when the bid reached INR 70 lakhs. It was at this point Kings XI joined the bidding contest against Sunrisers Hyderabad. But Sunrisers were the third franchise to leave the bid once it had crossed the one crore-mark.

Royals, lead by their mentor Rahul Dravid, remained aggressive and refused to budge and carried the bid past the 2-crore mark. Both franchise officials appeared visibly tense. In contrast, in faraway Amritsar, in the north Indian state of Punjab, Dhawan himself was experiencing pulsating moments.

"It was a moment where I was just telling myself: 'Ek aur bid kar de, ek aur bid kar de (let them make another bid please)'," Dhawan recollects the tense moments. "Things moved so quickly within two minutes it did not allow me to react properly. I only realised later I had been bought for Rs 3 crores. I was just so excited and happy that I was busy celebrating. The phones started coming and as I got busy attending them, I did not even know which was the franchise that had bought me."

Dhawan had gone to play a match near Amritsar and decided to stay back at his grandmother's place to watch the auction. "I knew I was on the auction list so I was ready from the morning," he said. "I was confident about someone bidding for me. But I was nervous initially. Then Mumbai started. Then Mumbai stopped. Then I felt now that Mumbai have stopped, I don't know who else would be interested. Who will buy me? I was expecting Mumbai to bid for a higher price. But fortunately Kings XI had faith in me."

Dhawan is one of the many uncapped India players franchises showed keen interest in, a clear signal that the coaches had paid close attention to the Ranji Trophy performers this season. Even before the Ranji knockouts had started, Dhawan had 49 wickets, a tally no one else could match, making him the top wicket-taker in the tournament, a feat possibly no other Himachal Pradesh bowler has achieved in the past.

"It is a big thing for me that the franchise has shown so much faith in my abilities," Dhawan said. "It shows they have accounted for my performances in the Ranji Trophy and last IPL and Champions League Twenty20 with Mumbai."

Standing about 5'10" tall, Dhawan is a lanky fast bowler who can swing the ball both ways. Speed is not his biggest weapon, but a sharp mind is one of his strengths. In person he is quiet, but people who know him say Dhawan is intelligent. Possibly that was one reason the Himachal selectors showed confidence in giving him the leadership responsibility. It was a big moment for Dhawan, who had started playing cricket when he was 13 and made his first-class debut in 2009.

Incidentally it is not well known that Kings XI was the first franchise where Dhawan made his entry into the IPL. In 2008 the franchise's scouts spotted an 18-year-old Dhawan, who was originally picked in the main squad but was cut adrift as the team management decided to trim the squad.

Dhawan was slightly disappointed but took it in his stride. He eventually was bought by Mumbai before the last IPL. The franchise showed confidence in Dhawan by playing him in both the IPL final as well as the CLT20 final, which Mumbai won.

Interestingly, Dhawan's numbers were not at all impressive: in the IPL he managed a total of 21 runs in four innings and two wickets in five innings last year. In the CLT20, Dhawan didn't get to face a single ball and took just three wickets.

"I know I did not get the wickets but I got to play all the big matches including both the semi-finals and the finals in both the IPL and the CLT20 for Mumbai," Dhawan said. "I was pretty economical I felt and that is what possibly made the other franchises take notice."

Exactly 10 days ago, the Indian selectors had picked a 15-man Rest of India squad for the Irani Cup. Dhawan, the highest-wicket in the Ranji Trophy, was not included. It was a moment Dhawan cannot forget. "I was really surprised," he recollects. "I was expecting the call-up. I was wondering how was this possible. If I did not get picked for ROI then how can I think of getting near to the national team."

Today all those doubts got erased immediately. "I myself have got the confidence, but now I know at least in some people's minds I am better," Dhawan, who will turn 24 in six days, said.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (February 17, 2014, 5:33 GMT)

Dhawan is better bowler than Binny

Posted by neanderthal on (February 15, 2014, 16:24 GMT)

Dhawan is not really fast and would possibly be in Bhuvaneswar Kumar's category in terms of his speed. Unless he scores well and consistently in IPL games, I dont see him being considered at number 7-8 as an allrounder in Indian team. We already have a lot of bowlers of that slow medium category in India. Differentiator for him could only be his batting abilities.

Posted by chapathishot on (February 14, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

IPL selectors are valuing his performance,where as Indian selectors are not .If he can perform well in the IPL with both ball and bat he might be the missing link in the Indian team for the world cup in Australia.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 11:17 GMT)

Nothing against binny but I think for longer version of the game dhawan seems better. And as far as batting is concerned we haven't seen too much of dhawan in IPL so yes he can't be compared to binny similarly even dhawans bowling cannot be compared with binnys as binny has hardly ever bowled full quota of four overs whereas this guy is a new ball bowler. His ranji stats are superior and he is much younger.

Posted by soumyas on (February 14, 2014, 6:51 GMT)

@Hussain Kurawadwala...Binny is a genuine all rounder, batted really well for RR last season... don't compare Rishi dhawan with him, dhawan doesn't even come close to binny in batting.

Posted by atuljain1969 on (February 14, 2014, 6:18 GMT)

I've been recommending Dhawan;s name since last 3 years, but no one gives a thought to a player from a lesser known team.

However I wish all the good luck he needs. Lets prove that his achievements were not a fluke. Though his brand of cricket is suited for Test match, I thing he could be a handy one day player if not a 20-20 player.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2014, 6:04 GMT)

He was unlucky not to be playing for Irani trophy .I hope he performs well .He is just so much better than binny

Posted by JRP100 on (February 13, 2014, 21:58 GMT)

this is his chance, selectors pay more attention to match winning performances in ipl than in ranji group C, some match winning performances here could see him in the squad to England, he needs to perform well in at least 3 or 4 games as an all rounder and there's no doubt he'll be selected to play for india.

Posted by InsideHedge on (February 13, 2014, 21:50 GMT)

So it's all about the money for Rishi Dhawan. He didn't even care who purchased him! lol Well, what a surprise and should anyone be surprised when these guys make it to the national team, realise there's a heck of a lot of hard work involved but can't be bothered to put the effort in?

Money for Nothing.

Posted by   on (February 13, 2014, 20:29 GMT)

Too Childish....Show some Maturity Mr. Dhawan.

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