New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Auckland, 4th day February 10, 2014

Dhawan finally curbs aggressive instinct

Shikhar Dhawan's impatience in Tests has been his major shortcoming, but his fighting century in Auckland proved that he may yet have it in him to cut it at the longest format
77

On the final afternoon of the first Test at Eden Park, a vocal group of Indian fans started shouting, imploring Shikhar Dhawan to twirl his moustache.

Dhawan had come up to the players' lounge after falling for 115 to a brute from Neil Wagner. Although he had become only the fourth Indian opener to have made a hundred in the fourth innings of a Test, his team eventually slipped from a strong position to lose the contest. Many players would just have brooded over the dismissal and would not have heeded to the fans. But Dhawan instantly obliged the fans with what they wanted.

We have come to expect that ready, carefree style from Dhawan. That is the way he carries himself, that is the way he bats. He has developed too much self-belief to let reputations or situations bother him too much.

You need to have self-belief to survive so long in first-class cricket when others don't have enough faith in you to provide you the international call-up. When it finally comes, after more than eight years of domestic grind, your self-belief has to border on the ridiculous for you to crack 187 off 174 on your Test debut.

But just self-belief won't do in international cricket. The world saw the talent Dhawan had, and that he had the confidence to back it. But did he have the other abilities that is critical to build on a heady debut? Did he have the willingness to abandon his aggression when the situation demanded patience? Could he pay some respect to bowlers when needed? Could he tighten up his game to play long innings as a Test opener?

A highest of 29 in two Tests in South Africa on his first away tour did not suggest that. A third-ball duck in the first innings in Auckland only added to the doubts. He was too eager to pull, pushed with hard hands, was neither forward nor back and couldn't adjust his approach. He had only one gear, and the questions were understandably piling up.

Dhawan went a long way in answering them with a fourth-innings century. Yes, the Eden Park pitch hadn't deteriorated much, and he was dropped fifth ball. But that should not take away anything from the significance of his feat. That only three other Indian openers before him have achieved this landmark before him goes to show the enormity of his effort.

India know now that Dhawan can alter his game for long periods at the highest level. That is a very satisfying thing to find out about your Test opener. At Eden Park, Dhawan did all that does not come naturally to him. He resisted the temptation to pull, choosing to duck instead. He resisted the temptation to cut with since catchers were posted behind point, choosing to leave the deliveries alone instead. And he did this for more than five hours.

He showed he was skilled enough to still score at a decent rate. He rode the bounce and guided and nudged behind point rather than slashing wildly. He played the drive and the clip when he had the length and the reach. And when he fell, it was to a special delivery rather than an injudicious shot.

It is a tricky balance to achieve for aggressive players such as Dhawan. You don't want to be too reckless, but you don't want to let go of too many scoring opportunities as well. You can feel there is no point standing out there for 100 deliveries and falling for 35 when you know you can go after the bowling and score more in much lesser time. But fail that, and you also know the questions will pile up further.

MS Dhoni felt Dhawan had attained that balance without over-analysing and getting too hard on himself after being left out for the fourth ODI. "What was important was his approach," Dhoni said. "Because at times, you start thinking too much. That was the reason we gave him rest in that particular ODI. We wanted him to have a clear mind. Before that game, he got 35-40 odd runs [28] and it is always better if you have scored runs and then you give the individual a bit of a rest to think. If you have not scored, then you tend to be in a negative frame of mind. Maybe that rest helped him to some extent.

"In the second innings he was very calm and composed, batted the way it was needed, scored patiently. That was the reason he got a big hundred, and hopefully, it will really boost up his confidence and help him keep going and not let him think in the negative direction."

The doubts from outside have receded, at least for the time being. Much tougher tours, starting with the one in England, lie in wait. But Auckland has suggested Dhawan can cut it at Test level.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Naresh28 on February 14, 2014, 8:29 GMT

    There were so many SL and Pak fans calling DHAWAN a flat track bully. Well he scored a 100 is on 71n.o in NZ. HARDLY A FLAT TRACK BULLY!!!! He has recognized which shots he gets out to - only a matter of adjusting.

  • Johnny_129 on February 13, 2014, 16:34 GMT

    @ Shoaib Khan on (February 11, 2014, 0:19 GMT) - How would you explain India's last series win in NZ. Also the previous series draw in SA (prior to last SA series)??? Maybe it was the WC win that put Dhoni and India into holiday mode. Has anyone noticed how the members of the WC winning team suddenly disappeared off the radar - I think the WC is so cherished in India that the winning players found it hard to get re-motivated??? Sehwag, Gambhir, Raina, Yuvraj, Harbhajan & Munaf to name a few - All young enough but slipping off the radar fast!

  • Johnny_129 on February 13, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    I, for one, always maintained that Dhawan should be persisted with. Firstly, he is a free scoring batsman. Secondly, though he was getting out cheaply, he never looked all at sea - He was just not executing shots properly. Even in NZ he has looked capable. But India desperately need to add another pace bowler to the side - Perhaps they should rest either Rohit or Vijay???

  • on February 13, 2014, 14:31 GMT

    Friends lets not be so critical about Dhawan he was out form , admit had a reprieve but to his credit he hung around . But the problem is Indian team is not clicking as a unit . Lets hope for India's sake he does well in 2nd test as well.

    None from batting line up stuck around .India could have won this one .Dhoni and Jadeja need to prove that they can score in test matches. But actually they don't need to prove till Srinivasan is there . All losses will be forgotten and India shall throng to see IPL

  • Nero28 on February 12, 2014, 16:55 GMT

    Look at australia what their Smith is doing after 97-4 making a double hundred pertnership. He is their no.6 . Everybody know what Clarke at no.5 does anyday . SA's AB devilliers win the losing match at no.5 . Du plesis saves the losing match . You know what Matt prior did in gone days. Here in Nz McCullum and Anderson are making big hundred partnerships. When was the last time india's lower middle order led by Dhoni made such a partnership in abroad condition. They do the opposite of De villiers-Duplesis. They lose the winning match made by top order. Stop criticizing openers . If they eat the new ball and make 40 runs ,that is enough what Vijay is doing. But culprit is the middle order for india. India have the worst lower middle order in the world in current time. What is Dhoni's overseas average since 2011 or overall average if you substract that 224. Ashwin is ahead of him. He is never scoring a century but how many half he had made in these overseas. Does he have the right to criticise top order. How can he drop the underperformers when himself is poor than them.

  • A.Ak on February 11, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    Yes of-course because he has scored more then 40 after 8 innings. Why dont people be patient and let the player play his game without overrating or put pressure on him.

  • ajdhamdhere on February 11, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    There is a sudden decline in Team India's performance since Fletcher took over. We lost a home Test series versus England in 2012, after a gap of 8 years under DF. His only success away is Champions Trophy win in June 2013. Under Gary, there were instances such as Napier Test vs NZ, Ahmedabad Test vs NZ, Mohali Test vs Australia, Chennai Test vs England where the team fought back from tense situations to save or win the Tests thanks to brilliant efforts from Gambhir, Harbhajan (fighting 100), Laxman-Ishant 9th wicket partnership & Sehwag-Sachin's brilliance in 4th innings respectively. Now, we lose the matches from winning positions, like the one in Auckland.The meek surrender is seen far too often. Batsmen continue to flirt with the balls way outside off-stump, don't show enough patience after successive dot balls. The bowling woes are much bigger. We struggle to pick 20 opposition wickets which is must in winning a Test.That is not what we expect from our Team India!!!!

  • on February 11, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    BCCI should:1) Agree to snickometer & audio for catches and edges for LBWs-Rahane would have been saved & maybe Vijay 2) Agree to review for no balls -But Dhoni's was not given by 3rd umpire-partial umpire. Normally they use so many views for catches and boundaries. The3rd umpire did not use all views available!3) No DRS for LBWs-BCCI suspects balltracking technology.I agree as wickets change constantly so unpredictable wrt path of ball.4) Benefit of doubt should be given to batsman which is not the case now.5) Use for as required cases by TV umpire. Want to get close to 100% correct decisions. Too many errors occurring. Aucklkand test probably worst in recent times. Like what the great West Indies suffered at the hands of NZ umpires in the 80s and lost the series. Here there were neutral but incompetent umpires!!!.They may have been biased against India because it is wanting more power.

  • prasanna_79 on February 11, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    @HARYSH DASARI ..,the point I am trying to make is not about whether Dhoni is a great player or a great captain.. The bottomline is he doesn't deserve his place in the test 11 either as a test batsman ( with his technical frailties outside off against pace ) or as a non-performing captain either ( because his defensive & unimaginative captaincy has cost India on more than one occassion..,the most recent being the test series against SA ).. And i dont think its wrong as an Indian cricket fan to expect the Captain to lead from the front & guts it out when the situation is tough & not throw his wicket away like a tailender by poking at deliveries outside off..,it may fetch him streaky boundaries in ODIs but in tests with so many catching fielders in the slips..,his batting technique is a perfect recipe for disaster..!! And he doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes either..!! In my opinion he should play in ODIs only & that too only as a player.. This would help INDIAN CRICKET..

  • kohli_ponnaya on February 11, 2014, 2:34 GMT

    India is one of the poorest sides playing international cricket today. Just proves the ranking system is way out of kilter with reality. Only Pujara is test quality. One innings from Dhawan does not make him a test standard batsman. The bowling is perhaps the weakest in international cricket.

  • Naresh28 on February 14, 2014, 8:29 GMT

    There were so many SL and Pak fans calling DHAWAN a flat track bully. Well he scored a 100 is on 71n.o in NZ. HARDLY A FLAT TRACK BULLY!!!! He has recognized which shots he gets out to - only a matter of adjusting.

  • Johnny_129 on February 13, 2014, 16:34 GMT

    @ Shoaib Khan on (February 11, 2014, 0:19 GMT) - How would you explain India's last series win in NZ. Also the previous series draw in SA (prior to last SA series)??? Maybe it was the WC win that put Dhoni and India into holiday mode. Has anyone noticed how the members of the WC winning team suddenly disappeared off the radar - I think the WC is so cherished in India that the winning players found it hard to get re-motivated??? Sehwag, Gambhir, Raina, Yuvraj, Harbhajan & Munaf to name a few - All young enough but slipping off the radar fast!

  • Johnny_129 on February 13, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    I, for one, always maintained that Dhawan should be persisted with. Firstly, he is a free scoring batsman. Secondly, though he was getting out cheaply, he never looked all at sea - He was just not executing shots properly. Even in NZ he has looked capable. But India desperately need to add another pace bowler to the side - Perhaps they should rest either Rohit or Vijay???

  • on February 13, 2014, 14:31 GMT

    Friends lets not be so critical about Dhawan he was out form , admit had a reprieve but to his credit he hung around . But the problem is Indian team is not clicking as a unit . Lets hope for India's sake he does well in 2nd test as well.

    None from batting line up stuck around .India could have won this one .Dhoni and Jadeja need to prove that they can score in test matches. But actually they don't need to prove till Srinivasan is there . All losses will be forgotten and India shall throng to see IPL

  • Nero28 on February 12, 2014, 16:55 GMT

    Look at australia what their Smith is doing after 97-4 making a double hundred pertnership. He is their no.6 . Everybody know what Clarke at no.5 does anyday . SA's AB devilliers win the losing match at no.5 . Du plesis saves the losing match . You know what Matt prior did in gone days. Here in Nz McCullum and Anderson are making big hundred partnerships. When was the last time india's lower middle order led by Dhoni made such a partnership in abroad condition. They do the opposite of De villiers-Duplesis. They lose the winning match made by top order. Stop criticizing openers . If they eat the new ball and make 40 runs ,that is enough what Vijay is doing. But culprit is the middle order for india. India have the worst lower middle order in the world in current time. What is Dhoni's overseas average since 2011 or overall average if you substract that 224. Ashwin is ahead of him. He is never scoring a century but how many half he had made in these overseas. Does he have the right to criticise top order. How can he drop the underperformers when himself is poor than them.

  • A.Ak on February 11, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    Yes of-course because he has scored more then 40 after 8 innings. Why dont people be patient and let the player play his game without overrating or put pressure on him.

  • ajdhamdhere on February 11, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    There is a sudden decline in Team India's performance since Fletcher took over. We lost a home Test series versus England in 2012, after a gap of 8 years under DF. His only success away is Champions Trophy win in June 2013. Under Gary, there were instances such as Napier Test vs NZ, Ahmedabad Test vs NZ, Mohali Test vs Australia, Chennai Test vs England where the team fought back from tense situations to save or win the Tests thanks to brilliant efforts from Gambhir, Harbhajan (fighting 100), Laxman-Ishant 9th wicket partnership & Sehwag-Sachin's brilliance in 4th innings respectively. Now, we lose the matches from winning positions, like the one in Auckland.The meek surrender is seen far too often. Batsmen continue to flirt with the balls way outside off-stump, don't show enough patience after successive dot balls. The bowling woes are much bigger. We struggle to pick 20 opposition wickets which is must in winning a Test.That is not what we expect from our Team India!!!!

  • on February 11, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    BCCI should:1) Agree to snickometer & audio for catches and edges for LBWs-Rahane would have been saved & maybe Vijay 2) Agree to review for no balls -But Dhoni's was not given by 3rd umpire-partial umpire. Normally they use so many views for catches and boundaries. The3rd umpire did not use all views available!3) No DRS for LBWs-BCCI suspects balltracking technology.I agree as wickets change constantly so unpredictable wrt path of ball.4) Benefit of doubt should be given to batsman which is not the case now.5) Use for as required cases by TV umpire. Want to get close to 100% correct decisions. Too many errors occurring. Aucklkand test probably worst in recent times. Like what the great West Indies suffered at the hands of NZ umpires in the 80s and lost the series. Here there were neutral but incompetent umpires!!!.They may have been biased against India because it is wanting more power.

  • prasanna_79 on February 11, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    @HARYSH DASARI ..,the point I am trying to make is not about whether Dhoni is a great player or a great captain.. The bottomline is he doesn't deserve his place in the test 11 either as a test batsman ( with his technical frailties outside off against pace ) or as a non-performing captain either ( because his defensive & unimaginative captaincy has cost India on more than one occassion..,the most recent being the test series against SA ).. And i dont think its wrong as an Indian cricket fan to expect the Captain to lead from the front & guts it out when the situation is tough & not throw his wicket away like a tailender by poking at deliveries outside off..,it may fetch him streaky boundaries in ODIs but in tests with so many catching fielders in the slips..,his batting technique is a perfect recipe for disaster..!! And he doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes either..!! In my opinion he should play in ODIs only & that too only as a player.. This would help INDIAN CRICKET..

  • kohli_ponnaya on February 11, 2014, 2:34 GMT

    India is one of the poorest sides playing international cricket today. Just proves the ranking system is way out of kilter with reality. Only Pujara is test quality. One innings from Dhawan does not make him a test standard batsman. The bowling is perhaps the weakest in international cricket.

  • theRule19 on February 11, 2014, 2:16 GMT

    Replace Z.Khan, I.Sharma and R.Sharma and bring in I.Pandey, V.Aaron and R.Ashwin (for batting) for the second test.

  • on February 11, 2014, 0:57 GMT

    NZ bowling attack seems a little over-rated to me.. lack of application from Indian batsmen elevated NZs bowling. If we look back and analyze how some of the batsmen got out, it should tell us all the answers. Trent Boult is incredible with his swing but still didn't seem to have bowled too many of those lethal swinging deliveries, whereas against WI he did it a little more often or perhaps WI batsmen were so bad that they had no answers. Wagner bowled good but it was far from being unplayable.. in the end it's how the batsmen make it look that matters. His best ball was the one that got Dhawan. Southee is alright.. he is decent.. nothing scary.. compare these folks with Bond and you'll probably understand how these new folks are.. Broad, Anderson, Finn, even Stokes seem quite better than these guys.. a lot of people make their opinions very quickly :) I think it would be a fantastic even contest between India and England this time around..

  • on February 11, 2014, 0:19 GMT

    Dhawan got lucky I must say...India is a well over rated team anyways which can only play good cricket in it's home conditions in front of it's own crowds. NZ really showed on the other hand that lower rankings doesn't mean u r not good enough..It only means that Cricket is going in the wrong direction and the ranking system is flawed.

  • on February 11, 2014, 0:18 GMT

    Why is there so much negative comments against Dhawan?

    He is playing really well and having 2 centuries in 9 innings is pretty good. And again he has merely played 3 tests outside of India, give him some time to settle in and learn the way to play on each tour. There are still some more tests away fir India this year and has a lot of time to improve so he shouldn't be panned so hard. And for the people saying that this is a fluke, nobody makes a 100 by 'fluke'. That's not what you call fluke. He played well, controlled his temptations to cut and pull the ball, albeit he was dropped but the point is that he capitalized on the drop.

  • on February 10, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    @Albert_cambell.

    Dhawan plays for India, arguably the most passionate about cricket in the world. To say he is not of an international standard is wrong. He plays for an International country, scoring a international century.

    India's biggest weakness is swing bowling, got knocked over by England in swing conditions and in SA and now in NZ.

  • satchander on February 10, 2014, 22:08 GMT

    @Greatest_Game: Eng may have lost 0 - 5 to Aus in Aus and they are going through a torrid time with KP controversy etc etc but still they are a great team at home. India have not won a single away test match for the past 3 years - even trailing 0 - 1 to NZ (ranked 8th in world). Let them win at-least next match in Wellington to entertain any hopes of doing good in En.

  • Gunston on February 10, 2014, 21:29 GMT

    One big innings in a blue moon on a pitch which eased out (eased out so much that Kohli has the audacity to pull a ball from outside off stump)...and he gets showers of praise...heck

  • on February 10, 2014, 21:20 GMT

    "Posted by Alexk400 on (February 10, 2014, 18:50 GMT) Pitch eased out. That was the key for dhawan to score. Dhawan need flat pitch."

    So that brute of a ball was Wagner creating it by himself on a flat pitch?

  • on February 10, 2014, 21:18 GMT

    dhawan shows he has another gear, but dhoni shows again he has no clue about captaining or playing outside the sub-continent. dhoni's contribution with the bat--49 runs in two innings. NZ captain slammed double hundred in the first innings, indian captain not even fifty in two innings. beaten in eng, beaten in aus, beaten in sa, beaten in nz...dhoni is true indian captain---he can be captain only if india plays in india

  • Greatest_Game on February 10, 2014, 19:39 GMT

    @ Vinay Patel commented "England tougher for Dhawan? Please, apart from Broad perhaps Southee, Boult and Wagner are now much better than anything England can offer."

    Agreed. I think India has a fair chance in Eng, and I'm not an Indian fan. If Anderson can make a comeback to his best form that equation might change, but right now he is useless, the ECB has destroyed Finn, Tremlett is toothless … basically India's bowling can compete. And, England's batting is hopeless!

  • on February 10, 2014, 19:36 GMT

    heh... india's performance is like hell ... wherever it is , they are the champ, in ODI, they are white washed .... :D , against whom? -- NZ, who were white washed to Bangladesh not only once, two in a row,, India needs to concentrate their own business,, their outside talkings are too much .

  • TestOfTime on February 10, 2014, 19:04 GMT

    @ThilankaK, mate you are barkig up the wrong tree again. Dhawan does not play U19. so stop trolling. @TommytuckerSaffa, did you read the article at all? Abhishek Purohit never said anything like that. It was a measure article.

  • Alexk400 on February 10, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    Pitch eased out. That was the key for dhawan to score. Dhawan need flat pitch.

  • on February 10, 2014, 18:43 GMT

    @prasanna_79 dude nme the eleven?? Try to realize that you are making comments keeping in view of the people performing out sidesub continent. But god sake they are performing in their country and its sub continet for them.. wats the success ratio for England, AUS, SA and NZ out side threir territory?? Relax and realize that most of them perform better at home or at simila conditions to home and rest are the greats. if you are making commects on some one to perform every where then you are assuming and believing that they are great. your comments prove the virtue of the player..

  • on February 10, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Shikhar dhawan is a good batsman but not as good as gambhir could be...I think gambhir should be brought back in the team

  • Nero28 on February 10, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    India's regular problem is not india's openers . You could expect them to score every match. They have the ability to score big . And every match opener performance is not needed to win the match. We have seen match winning ability from the top order including them. But the long term problem is with india's no.6,7,8. They don't play to win. They can't build partnership. Rohit is not the worst at 5, atleast you can expect him in one match. But Rahane really does not look the right one for no.6 to change a game by scoring big. Can he make a double batting at no.6. And forget about Jadeja, the biggest problem is Dhoni . He never come to bat positively. I wonder if he thinks the game is over with five wicket down, very negative. He looks bat as a tail ender, never to score a hundred there. He never does a Clarke or deVilliers after early wicket down. I will be very disappointed if it continues so. India will paid the price as a whitewash again in ENG-AUS big serieses if they don't win the first match anyway. Then you will be happy in just one match for losing coming so close like now. And losing confidence will automatically put your performance down in remaining matches.

  • on February 10, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    England tougher for Dhawan? Please, apart from Broad perhaps Southee, Boult and Wagner are now much better than anything England can offer.

  • TestOfTime on February 10, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    I was surprised at the number of negative comments against Dhawan. Relax guys, nobody is saying he is the next Hayden. He has played all of 6 tests and has performed reasonably well. 2 centuries in 9 innings is pretty admirable. He has played 3 tests abroad and has to still improve. Atleast he is going in the right direction. I thinsk India has another 8-9 tests outside India this year and that'll be a great learning curve for him. I think judgments should be reserved for a while. Let us see how this young batting team(experience wise) performs.

  • Albert_cambell on February 10, 2014, 17:51 GMT

    Nothing special about Dhawan. He just scored a fluke hundred with a help of a dropped catch. He will fail miserably during the next game.He is not an international standard batsman to be honest.

  • tom120 on February 10, 2014, 17:39 GMT

    I still think he's not a good player overseas. He's good on slow Indian tracks, though. Here NZ bowling attack is decent but not that good. Like Mitch did to Poms, they should target the body of such batters relentlessly who struggle to play balls above chest.

  • prasanna_79 on February 10, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    Has dhoni cut it at the test level.., what makes the selectors keep him in the team as a test player itself first..?!! Any decent first class WK can bat well within India.. Its performances in tests overseas that really matters.. First select the best eleven to represent India n then make the best available option as captain & not the other way around.., of course he is strategically not the best either.. After so much of international experience he is still poking at balls outside off stump.., hasn't learnt anything from his previous dismissals either.. My test squad would be : Dhawan,Vijay,Pujara,Kohli,Gambhir(c),D.Karthik,A.Nayar,R.Jadeja,U.yadav,I.sharma,M.Shami& reserves KL.Rahul, R.Dhawan,RP.Singh, R.Ashwin.. I think this team would perform well all around the world consistently..

  • Phaddetattee on February 10, 2014, 17:35 GMT

    I am quite puzzled by this article, we are praising a batsman who scored a century after he was dropped on his fifth ball. he performed once in 10 innings , not sure if that can happen if india plays out of subcontinent. why are we not talking about Sehwag, Gambhir , Yuvraj then. Just because they are not dhoni's confidante now. first please explain to me what dhoni is doing in the test team , He is an excellent captain for ODI and T20. but his techniqueless game only mocks at him when he is batting in tests and not just his batting , he is awfully bad in test as a captain. His field position , change of bowling always baffles me. my personal opinion is selectors are forcing him to suceed in test and he does not belong in that arena and same goes for Vijay , rohit sharma , Ashwin , jadeja. these players should not be in test team by a clear mile. they are all forced to suceed. i wish these many chances and confidence given to any other average player even he will suceed.

  • immi2711 on February 10, 2014, 17:20 GMT

    The guy has played one good innings and you all are anointing him as the second coming....give it a chill....I am also a big fan of Dhawan's batting from Pakistan....but he failed in SA (odi/test) he failed in NZ (odi/Test ?)....I was expecting a big game from him in SA and NZ....He should have been able to pull out his game in both places, but he failed to do so, and thus I am not ready to put him back on the pedestal....I need to see consistent out put from him outside India....

  • prasanna_79 on February 10, 2014, 17:14 GMT

    As I had mentioned in my previous comments dhawan had never looked out of place at the international level unlike say a Suresh raina or rohit sharma as an opener in ODIs.. Very happy for him.. But still needs to improve his Backfoot game though..A little more control on his pull/ hook shots will help him conquer the world.. Work hard shikar.. Gud luck n god bless..

  • niazbhi on February 10, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    Good article on Dhawan. I am also happy the way Dhoni accepted the loss. NZ played a little better. India came back strong and lost by 40 runs. Dhoni has a tough job. Its not easy to make every indian fan. New indian batsmen do not have much experience of playing abroad. They are learning. Zaheer is back after a long time and he is no where as fit as he was. Shami is a young bowler. India did well. I wonder if Jadega's catch was missed in the second innings and india scored 40 more runs how would the same fans react. We are caught up in win and loss. It was a wonderful game. Both teams showed a lot of heart!

  • on February 10, 2014, 17:06 GMT

    Guys test cricket and IPL are two totally different things , scoring at a rapid rate and hitting a run a ball 100 isn't always the best test innings . As a test batsman you need to see the bigger picture , and play session to session , best of luck to India for the remaining series and hoping it's not only glitz and glamour and some serious batting from the Indians

  • on February 10, 2014, 15:39 GMT

    Dhawan's temperament and technique were questionable earlier due to his continued failures. His nemesis was the hookshot against the raising ball. In this particular innings he controlled himself appreciably and ducked to raising ball instead of meeting it the bat. It was very heartening to see him showing lot of patience and excellent approach was very good.. He must have realised in this innings that there is no devil in the pitch. It is just that you got to play the ball on merit. Bat straight as much as possible. Most legends became legends by playing their shot n the V.

    Keep it up Dhawan. Good luck for the next match.

  • SinSpider on February 10, 2014, 15:37 GMT

    It is amazing that there is an article about Dhawan who has scored once out of 10 innings or more. I am an Indian fan and I can say it whole heartedly as a cricket fan that NZ played excellent cricket. B McCullum lead the team from the front and almost every member chipped in.

    You can post mortem India's team performance as much as you want. But the simple fact is that in every match there are 5 or more non-performers.

  • cricket_lover1 on February 10, 2014, 15:36 GMT

    Bring in Binny as a fast bowling allrounder in place of Rahane...Rohit Sharma should bowl more overs in test..also Pujara can also bowl to add a variety..India needs more allrounders...please use these overseas tours to develop some fast bowling allrounders...otherwise India going nowhere..for sure..

  • Arun_Mathew on February 10, 2014, 15:32 GMT

    guys,, we should consider that this is a new team,, those 8 losses came 2 years ago,, we lost in SA and first test here, but we gained respect, we came so winning in wanderers and in auckland. The problem our team is facing is crossing the final hurdle, a win will do wonders. I have a feeling that once we win a test outside, our confidence will come back, i hope wellington will provide that win, i expect backlash from pujara, expect 150 from him,

  • on February 10, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    The whole thing started due to NZ captain's not forcing follow on. They could perhaps won the match by an innings and keeping huge moral boost. I can never understand why captains make that mistake at times and don't force the follow on.

    One of the rationale could be their bowlers and fielders get tired and they wanted to give them rest. I don't agree with that argument. The fact that follow-on is applicable means they were out very cheaply and could have continued batting much longer and the bowlers/fielders already got much less exercise. Continuing that effort for some more time (till the next break of session or day) is worth the win.

    Anyway that mistake was very useful for us. Even though, we didn't win, it enhanced our chances for 2nd test match win by getting moral boost for our bowling and batting.

    To some extent the credit for our loss goes to Murali's missed catch in first innings.

  • GRVJPR on February 10, 2014, 15:02 GMT

    This is dirt Indian Cricket Analysis. In 9 innings they decide whether a player has another gear or not. God give strength to our young cricketers and save them from dirty cricket analysts and jealous haters.

  • on February 10, 2014, 15:02 GMT

    Rohit must be dropped as he has been given ample chances. Just some 72 can not & should not save him. The way he got out in the 2nd innings was terrible, hanging out his bat. Yes Rahane is good prospect & must be given long rope. Drop Rohit & Zak is my only point.

  • Naresh28 on February 10, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    Saurabh Tiwari is a a good ODI player. India should experiment with Umesh Yadav and Ishwar Pandey given a go. We need to differentiate who is a good ODI pace bowler and who is a Test bowler.

  • Rajeshj on February 10, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    Dhawan played a good innings, all right and we are happy enough to forget all his misadventures so far after a crackling debut.. And we need to watch for the next couple of series to really confirm whether he is part of the bunch or just another flat track bully.. And comments from some guys asking for Vijay's removal after one batting failure is quite baffling.. Vijay looked solid in SA and even in first innings, he was very solid till he got a brute of a delivery from Wagner.. Ashwin was given just one chance in a lifeless SA pitch and removed completely in favour of Jadeja.. In all these years, Ashwin has just played 4 tests in overseas conditions and still written off as Indian track specialist.. We do have to give a lengthy rope to players and assess their performance before chopping them off prematurely.. I am sure, if Vijay fails in one more match, he would be out of the team.. But Dhawan/Rohit/Jadeja won't be touched for 2 more series even if they fail..

  • on February 10, 2014, 14:20 GMT

    This team is entirely different from the the fab four era..team... 1.dhawan showed his mettle as a test opener 2.sehwag should be brought back if vijay does nt play well for the remaining series 3.rahane needs to score else rayudu or gambhir should get a chance may be gambhir should open and sehwag moves to middle order 4.enough of zak let us pay respect to him and say mate pandey is waiting please step down 4.try umesh yadav in place of an extra batsman..

  • barryrichardsfan on February 10, 2014, 14:10 GMT

    Batting looks quite okay, but I would like Gambhir as cover for Dhawan; and Manish Pandey/Saurabh Tiwary instead of Rayudu. Sadly Zak's zing is gone now, but he'd be picked for Eng for sure. Being a 5 test series we'd need 5 seamers. Selectors would go with Zak,Ishant,Bhuvi, Shami, Umesh. But in my view the best five men capable of getting 20 wickets are: Shami, Umesh, Pankaj, Praveen, Shardul.

  • on February 10, 2014, 13:37 GMT

    Dhawan just needs to step back a lil bit with his aggressive approach and be more defensive on these overseas pitches where you can't score runs at a strike rate of 100+. The best thing about his hundered was he was extremly patient. scored off the bad ball and respected the good ones. Now that he knows what it takes to achieve succes overseas he can only get better from here. Asia cup is comming up too. I would love to see him score big runs in it. The overseas losses that we had were because of failure from the experienced players and bad bowling. This is an entire new team with only ishant and dhoni being the most experienced. The fight that they put up in africa almost coming close to winning a test was fantastic. Even the last test that made newzealanders work hard for that victory was good too. keep it up guys the wins will soon start coming

  • on February 10, 2014, 13:36 GMT

    I think nobody can totally write off viru yet. He is a true legend and deserves another call for sure. Dhawan still has a long way to go to match up with the likes of viru.

  • on February 10, 2014, 13:32 GMT

    7. I would make one change now than later with Zaheer fading I shall give him his last test and start with Bhuvi as seamer and a better fielder/batsman. Shami looks settled, the 3rd seamer could be Umesh, Ishant, Aaron depending on wicket, if its the one that needs hit the deck I go with Ishant, one that is seaming I shall go with Umesh. If wicket has nothing to offer go with Aaron as he could be handy also Aaron is my last choice for simple reason he is yet to prove his test fitness to bowl as many overs. Bench for seamers is good with Ishwar Pandey, Dhawal Kulkarni, Pankaj Singh for next 3-5 years. Spinners we do have P Ojha, Amit Mishra and I Abdullah on bench. Dhoni as Captain is alright for now to look beyond but he can be replaced by Kohli with Kohli handling his mantle to Rohit for long run and to add to the options Rahane can keep wickets (He started as Keeper like Dravid) with Dinesh K or W Saha on reserve keepers. All in all we need to give this team atleast about 8 matches.

  • on February 10, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    4. Rohit @ 5 has already started proving, 2 centuries in 2 matches/innings and then ok outing in SA but importantly the first innings 72 here in NZ where every one else was tumbling, typically coming in at 21 for 3 with the pressure and all the criticism he gets. He shall come to his own away too. 5. Rahane has added value with his fielding the direct hit runouts in SA (2) the one's in ODI's and ofcourse the 2 catches in first test here, he also looks solid at number six with a 40+ a fifty and a 96 in SA and was looking good in first test in second innings before the unlucky lbw dismissal even on edging the ball. We do have Rayudu in reserve's and then bench is solid with Manoj Tiwari, Kedar Jadhav, and few others. 6. Ashwin/Jadeja are both capable of being allrounders, it takes while for spinners to learn to handle kookabura ball and the wickets, Jadeja has already showed he could do with it, Ashwin will eventually come around and both if can be played we can go in with 3+2+6 opt cont

  • on February 10, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    Reading through most of the comments what I have found is most of the fans here are forgetting the fact that this was the 3rd away test for this team and ODI's cannot be considered for test. Keep them separate. This team started together since WI series at home and few folks a little earlier. I think we have a good team with good bench. 1. Opening with Vijay and Shikhar they both look good enough and will learn more, have done better that Viru-Gauti towards their end. Gauti can be reserve opener if either has to get injured. we also have KL Rahul from Karnataka to fill in if needed. 2. Pujara no questions of him being current best no. 3 after Amla in world a prize scalp for all, he has already got the reputation and has proved it in SA and appeared good in NZ. 3. Virat is already showing his class even second innings in here he looked good for that one shot, but then its a game and things do happen. He is still not that old and has got less that 20 test matches/innings. contd.

  • on February 10, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    People Just Dont Make Dhawan a Hero he is Just a bully of Dhoni. Viru the Ultimate will surely bounce back

  • sergio11 on February 10, 2014, 13:06 GMT

    yes..he played really well..so does vijay in SA..there is always pressure on the ind openers to do well simply because of the way gambir bgn performng in Domestic cricket...Vijay also improved a lot as a batsman..his 97 at Durban showed lot of Charac...but the problem with dhawan is when the ball start to do a bit off the track or in the air..so i doubt about his performance in ENG...james Anderson is so good against the left handers with the new ball..it will be huge test for him..but when compare to other international batsman like Warner,Hughes,Root..indian batsman are learning fast from there mistakes,its very pleasing to see..

  • JustIPL on February 10, 2014, 10:43 GMT

    Dhawan was kept quite outside india. Looking at his statsguru suggestions it is clear that he had been on the reserved bench since 2010 when he played only game then few games in 2011 and again dropped to come back after an IPL season carrying some hitting form. Then that home hundred and after that dry run. When came out to bat in the second innings, most of the days play was done and bowlers were not getting support. He continued on the 4th morning when the ball was old but was taken care off when NZ bowlers indulged in impsing the defeat on india. His mustache was seen rising but then he got out.

  • rakster on February 10, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Dhawan innings was exceptional but what is disturbing it took India that long to workout that NZ are going to keep delivering short balls and they will do the same in the second test, it is not rocket science. They did it in the odi's also. I was at the ground, it was bizarre that India bowled Rohit at number 10 and 11. Zak also stated it was a plan to bowl short in the first innings, that is not India's strength. Swing and bowling a good length will always get wickets. There have been reports that Kohli has been spotted with an actress and that Dhoni and Kohli did not travel with the team to the practice team, is this team focussed? The tour to NZ is very short. I also witnessed Shane Bond the NZ bowling coach talking to its bowlers in between overs and when our bowlers are fielding our bowling coach is nowhere to be seen. We need to be smarter, train harder, think smarter when playing. India is definitely talented, but talent is wasted. India can be no1, but is that aim there?

  • Naresh28 on February 10, 2014, 10:19 GMT

    @piyush_daredevils - Dont forget Vijay's innings vs SA. I would not drop him and he deserves a chance. Indian fielding needs to improve.

  • harshthakor on February 10, 2014, 10:12 GMT

    Above all the test proved that the test match format is still the best of them all.This game proved how unpredictable test cricket is with unexpected twists and turns.This game had the excitement of a Hollywood thriller.Great credit to India for staging such a spirited comeback and coming to the doorstep of a famous victory after facing imminent defeat.This game was a victory for test cricket as a whole.

  • piyush_Daredevils on February 10, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    Vijay should be dropped rahane should me made to open the innings allowing some allrounder to play at 7 .and Dhoni to move up the order .

  • joseyesu on February 10, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    @UltraDeffensive - Comparing the records with BD is little too much. Everybody is aware of BD's performace for the last decade to now. Except Shakib, the team has nothing to stand for.

  • Naresh28 on February 10, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    THE TEST was lost due to lapses in FIELDing like the dropped catches by India. Also Rohit should drop his lazy(bowled first ball after tea) attitude. These cost heavy in the game context. A future thought is that Dinesh Karthik should come into the team to shore up the batting and as a reserve keeper. We once tried out a 5 bowler policy which worked and have now reverted to a 4. Our reserve players need to be tested and not warm the benches. one should not forget a 5 wicket haul by Umesh Yadav in CT. Otherwise the team should not be tinkered with too much.

  • joseyesu on February 10, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    @Abakr - Appreciate the player who has his first overseas hundred in 6 matches. Surely a better player than many. Also has good average as a opener(41). Can you match any from your side with the current performance.

  • ThePacifist10 on February 10, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    India has been weak away from home, but this team transitioned from 2012 to 2013, and then started performing together since 2013. They have unfairly shouldered the burden of our previous generations. In a way, we are not letting them be their own team. Thank god for Pujara's presence in the team; he gives us a new wall of defense to fall behind. These guys will become the best Indian team ever, I'm sure of it! They've already surpassed expectations in many ways. The wins will come soon. We must give this rebuilt team time. By the end of next year's World Cup, we'll know exactly how they've fared. Good luck to these brave young boys in blue!!

    A special word for our opponents as well: great job beating us. I know you guys hate the stuck-up comments of some Indian fans and the BCCI, but I just hope you don't generalize. I would sincerely like to congratulate you guys for putting up an awesome fight and coming out on top. Here's to a good match in Wellington. Cheers!

  • ThePacifist10 on February 10, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    We have a match-winner in Kohli. Rohit is getting more and more consistent and scored two 50s on this tour. He'll convert his scores into big ones soon. Dhawan's latest score is heartening, as was his approach during the innings. Rahane has been getting better. Vijay's solidity has surprised everyone.

    We have the talent, we have the players and we have the performances. And we have Dhoni, someone who is willing to take the pressure off his team and let them do their job. We may hate him for his tactics, but he is letting his boys get experience by playing, which is great. I still dislike Ishant and hope he doesn't get selected but that is a matter for another day. We just need the consistency and that will come with experience.

    None of our old teams gave us a hope of winning on those bleak tours. These young guns did. They gave us glimmers of hope in seemingly lost causes two out of three times AWAY from home! We'll start winning soon. I can almost smell it! :)

  • ThePacifist10 on February 10, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    Here's a couple of valid points:

    The team that Dhoni is leading is not the one that lost 4-0 in Aus and Eng. This is a brand new and young team that came together at the start of 2013. Since then they have brought home the Champions Trophy, Tri-series trophy and series wins against WI, Aus, Eng and Zim.

    They have won all of their home tests, the highlight of which was the 4-0 thrashing we gave to Aus.

    We have lost 2 away tests out of 3. In two of those matches, we pushed the hosts to the edge. It is to their credit (Wagner, Du Plessis) that they didn't fall over. Did anyone expect us to withstand the SA bowling attack in Jo'burg and come out with a draw? No. Did anyone give India a chance after Day 2 in Auckland? No. They came out guns blazing and nearly got home. With experience, we'll get better. There is room for improvement, definitely.

    Look at what we have: fantastic FAST bowling prospects in Shami and Aaron. A brilliant fielder and spinner in Jadeja. Continued...

  • on February 10, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    Dhawan is strong mentally so he'll do well overseas also ..just a matter of time and he'll prove what a class act he is and he already started to do so by scoring a century..good luck jatt Jim :)

  • Bdcricketdebator on February 10, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    Indian fans always overhyped about their team.let me show u how BD performed in their 1st ever nz test-nz 512/10.bd 428/10(mahamudullah115).nZ 285/5(d).bd 285/10(shakib).so bd is better team than ind abroad.

  • barryrichardsfan on February 10, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    Why are some people crying to bring back Gambhir or Sehwag. It was not as if they were dropped after 1 or 2 poor outings. Starting from 2010-11 tour of RSA Sehwag averaged 23 in 15 test matches(excluding 5 home tests against NZ, WI). 6 out of these 15 tests were in those 4-0 defeats in Eng, OZ . 15 TEST MATCHES WHILE STILL AVERAGING 25 IS LONG ENOUGH A ROPE. While Gambhir did quite well in RSA 2010-11. But after that he averaged 28 in 16 test matches. SO PEOPLE DONT CRY FOUL OVER WHY THEY WERE DROPPED. Vijay- Dhawan have played just 3 overseas tests and people are calling for dropping them. INFACT VIJAY SHOWED A LOT OF POISE FACING STEYN AND CO AND OVER HERE LOOKED THE MOST SOLID BATSMAN. He got a peach in first innings and an unlucky dismissal in 2nd innings

  • cmili on February 10, 2014, 8:30 GMT

    India's last 10 Test results in away as follows LLDLLLLLLLDD India's last 7 ODI results in away as follows LLDLLLL

    They are only champion in their home soil not away. Its time to Dhoni to resign.

  • MasterClass on February 10, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    I'm loving this young Indian team far more than I ever did the oldies (at least looking back the last few years). The way Shami bowled and the way Dhawan batted we can see the puzzle coming together. Pujara, Virat, Vijay, Rahane, Shami, Jadeja and now Dhawan have all put up their hand and showed they have what it takes. Sure we lost and it was disappointing, but the last 3 tests (2 in SA and 1 in NZ) the team has been in a winning position. Even more, in this match the team fought back from a losing position. The wins have not come, and there is more learning to do to close-out matches, but the progress is undeniable. What could be more exciting?

  • blthndr on February 10, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    @its not about scores....just look at the way he got out in those matches......he could hav avoid some shots earlier in his inning.......as an opner he has to learn to respect good delivery......

  • ABakr on February 10, 2014, 7:08 GMT

    Have a look at Dhawan's performance in the 'away' matches, latest first. Tests: 115, 0, 19, 29, 15, 13 ODIs: 9, 28, 12, 32, 0, 12, 41, 35, 116 (Zim), 17, 69 (WI), 11, 31, 11, 4, 3, 51 (WI)

    You've got to be kidding me for wasting all this space based on one innings that too in a LOST cause.

  • on February 10, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    out of those last 11 losses in last so many tests was sachin dravid laxman sehwag gambhir bhajji zaheer were part of it in 9 matches....so if the team selection was so wrong did you make any noise about getting the above players dropped from the team....the new players will take some time before settling down...already they have ran SA close in 1 test and showed tremendous fighting qualities and came close to winning the test after being behind by 300 runs in the first innings...dont you think you are being a little unfair and going overboard here?

  • Dysan25 on February 10, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    This innings has definitely made him stay in the team for now, just like Gambhir last time around (although Gambhir's knock was superior) .. But to stay longer in the Indian team as an opener he should atleast target to stick around for 2 full sessions in every innings (kudos to Vijay who has already mastered this) .. good luck for the openers for the next test ..

  • on February 10, 2014, 6:27 GMT

    Its amazing to see, how players are being praised even after loosing all of the matches abroad. Very funny article. would have been justified, if India would have won.

  • on February 10, 2014, 6:05 GMT

    Long live Dhawan..We've at least got a half decent opener ,if not complete Sehwag replacement !!! But i wish sehwag returns to form and replace murli vijay or rohit sharma for that matter... Who Knows this IPL might be turning point for sehwag !!!Cheers !!!

  • prady5688 on February 10, 2014, 6:00 GMT

    there is a lot of discussion on his form.....i have seen many people were against his place in the team...but i was thinking that he needs some time...same is the case with Rohit Sharma......let them nurture......i have always seen that if u r learning after every defeat u must believe there is a big win waiting for u.....god bless u my young team India.....soon you wiil be champion again...

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  • prady5688 on February 10, 2014, 6:00 GMT

    there is a lot of discussion on his form.....i have seen many people were against his place in the team...but i was thinking that he needs some time...same is the case with Rohit Sharma......let them nurture......i have always seen that if u r learning after every defeat u must believe there is a big win waiting for u.....god bless u my young team India.....soon you wiil be champion again...

  • on February 10, 2014, 6:05 GMT

    Long live Dhawan..We've at least got a half decent opener ,if not complete Sehwag replacement !!! But i wish sehwag returns to form and replace murli vijay or rohit sharma for that matter... Who Knows this IPL might be turning point for sehwag !!!Cheers !!!

  • on February 10, 2014, 6:27 GMT

    Its amazing to see, how players are being praised even after loosing all of the matches abroad. Very funny article. would have been justified, if India would have won.

  • Dysan25 on February 10, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    This innings has definitely made him stay in the team for now, just like Gambhir last time around (although Gambhir's knock was superior) .. But to stay longer in the Indian team as an opener he should atleast target to stick around for 2 full sessions in every innings (kudos to Vijay who has already mastered this) .. good luck for the openers for the next test ..

  • on February 10, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    out of those last 11 losses in last so many tests was sachin dravid laxman sehwag gambhir bhajji zaheer were part of it in 9 matches....so if the team selection was so wrong did you make any noise about getting the above players dropped from the team....the new players will take some time before settling down...already they have ran SA close in 1 test and showed tremendous fighting qualities and came close to winning the test after being behind by 300 runs in the first innings...dont you think you are being a little unfair and going overboard here?

  • ABakr on February 10, 2014, 7:08 GMT

    Have a look at Dhawan's performance in the 'away' matches, latest first. Tests: 115, 0, 19, 29, 15, 13 ODIs: 9, 28, 12, 32, 0, 12, 41, 35, 116 (Zim), 17, 69 (WI), 11, 31, 11, 4, 3, 51 (WI)

    You've got to be kidding me for wasting all this space based on one innings that too in a LOST cause.

  • blthndr on February 10, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    @its not about scores....just look at the way he got out in those matches......he could hav avoid some shots earlier in his inning.......as an opner he has to learn to respect good delivery......

  • MasterClass on February 10, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    I'm loving this young Indian team far more than I ever did the oldies (at least looking back the last few years). The way Shami bowled and the way Dhawan batted we can see the puzzle coming together. Pujara, Virat, Vijay, Rahane, Shami, Jadeja and now Dhawan have all put up their hand and showed they have what it takes. Sure we lost and it was disappointing, but the last 3 tests (2 in SA and 1 in NZ) the team has been in a winning position. Even more, in this match the team fought back from a losing position. The wins have not come, and there is more learning to do to close-out matches, but the progress is undeniable. What could be more exciting?

  • cmili on February 10, 2014, 8:30 GMT

    India's last 10 Test results in away as follows LLDLLLLLLLDD India's last 7 ODI results in away as follows LLDLLLL

    They are only champion in their home soil not away. Its time to Dhoni to resign.

  • barryrichardsfan on February 10, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    Why are some people crying to bring back Gambhir or Sehwag. It was not as if they were dropped after 1 or 2 poor outings. Starting from 2010-11 tour of RSA Sehwag averaged 23 in 15 test matches(excluding 5 home tests against NZ, WI). 6 out of these 15 tests were in those 4-0 defeats in Eng, OZ . 15 TEST MATCHES WHILE STILL AVERAGING 25 IS LONG ENOUGH A ROPE. While Gambhir did quite well in RSA 2010-11. But after that he averaged 28 in 16 test matches. SO PEOPLE DONT CRY FOUL OVER WHY THEY WERE DROPPED. Vijay- Dhawan have played just 3 overseas tests and people are calling for dropping them. INFACT VIJAY SHOWED A LOT OF POISE FACING STEYN AND CO AND OVER HERE LOOKED THE MOST SOLID BATSMAN. He got a peach in first innings and an unlucky dismissal in 2nd innings