Zimbabwe v India, 2nd ODI, Harare July 26, 2013

'I was fortunate they dropped my catches' - Dhawan


After his startling reincarnation as an international opener, it's easy to forget that Shikhar Dhawan was once written off by many observers as being unfit for national service. Since his return to ODIs at the Champions Trophy, he has scored 631 runs at 57.36, relying mainly on his silken touch through the off side. In the course of his third ODI century, however, he relied as much on luck as anything else.

"The wicket wasn't easy to bat on," he said after his Man-of-the-Match performance against Zimbabwe. "The ball was swinging and cutting, and they bowled really well in the first 25 overs. I was just fortunate enough that they dropped my catches today."

Despite their lapses in the field, Zimbabwe had reduced India to 65 for 4 before Dhawan found an able partner in Dinesh Karthik - incidentally, another cricketer who has, more than once, been discarded by the national side. "The team really needed a big partnership when we were four or five down, and myself and Dinesk Karthik played really well and made a big score for our team," Dhawan said.

"We're really happy. It was a very important partnership which brought us back into the game. We knew that we had to score big runs on this wicket because it gets much better in the second innings. Then things went our way."

Cricket was a slightly different game when Dhawan was first picked for India, and as an opener one of the rule-changes that he has had to pay particular attention to is that which stipulates that a new ball will be used from each end in ODIs. The rule means that batsmen have to deal with a hard, moving ball for longer than they used to.

"It's more difficult nowadays because you've got new balls from both ends," Dhawan explained. "When the ball is swinging you really need to play close to your body. You'll see that in the first 10 overs, openers are not scoring that many nowadays because the ball is new and it swings a lot and you have to be more careful. Shot selection is very important, because you don't want to lose wickets at the start and put pressure on the rest of the side."

Dhawan's international resurrection has occurred during a transitional phase for Indian cricket, and he has been given another chance thanks partly to the fading fortunes of long-time opening pair Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. Such periods of upheaval present myriad challenges, but India have so far largely weathered them, recently winning the Champions Trophy and scrapping their way to success in the Caribbean tri-series.

Dhawan said he was pleased with what he saw from the team. "Our team is gelling really nicely. All the young boys are very fit and really good in the field. Fielding-wise, we have really improved a lot. I feel like everything is working our way."

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Blade-Runner on July 27, 2013, 22:38 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta ; This is Dhawan's "2nd/ second /segundo / दूसरा / δεύτερος" comeback. I just wrote in different languages in case you didn't understand it in English in the first place. Dhawan debuted on 20th of Oct 2010 n scored "zero". Then he was dropped for next several series such as NZ n SA. Then he made his "1st " comeback after 8 months. So this is 2nd comeback. Pls don't embarrass yourself by trying to correct me. Btw You wrote "his weaknesses as a batsmen". It should be "a batsman not batsmen". You should seriously work on your grammar. LOL. You are way outta league here pal. G'day !!!

  • dummy4fb on July 27, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    Dhawan seems to have learnt from the mistakes he committed from his first stint, playing for his country. There are still a few more kinks to be straightened out. South Africa may turn out to be his finishing school - one way or the other. (I do hope, he will curb his adventurism; which lead to his Delhi senior Sehwag's downfall to a great extent, exasperated further by Veeru's declining reflexes and eye-sight).

  • dummy4fb on July 27, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    @Blade-Runner. Just like your advice to Dhawan to correct his weaknesses as a batsmen, you should correct your weaknesses as a writer. For Dhawan, it is his second chance to represent India, but his first comeback. Comebacks are always, at least 2nd chance! "2nd comeback" amounts to "3rd chance"! There are many such errors in quite a few of your earlier posts too. You may want to remedy those errors? Don't you? (Any way, hats off to your 'confidence' levels both on the contents of your comments and the manner of their delivery.)

  • dummy4fb on July 27, 2013, 15:47 GMT

    @Subin P Daniel . I agree with you. This is a tour for trial. This is tour for training in unfamiliar conditions. This is a tour for creating a larger pool to choose from. In that context, I have to re-iterate the comments of many by stating:

    1. We have tried enough with Vinay Kumar, now it is Mohit's turn.

    2. We have given enough trials to Rohit; now it is Pujara's turn.

    3. We had seen enough of Mishra; now it is Rasool's turn.

    I am not saying that Rohit, Mishra & Vinay are no good! By not trying out the other players, the tour selectors are undermining the good intentions, and pretty good moves, of the national selectors. That is a very foolish thing to do!

  • IPSY on July 27, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    alarky, I would only be in agreement with you if you are only speaking about test cricket. Yes, Dhawan does have a solid technique and backs it up with awesome "entertaining" stroke play in the test match that I saw him. Hence, i guess this would be his style throughout his career. That is the factor that separates those names that you mentioned in that super-class of batsmen from the technically "good" batsmen in test cricket. But if you are also talking limited overs cricket, you have left out a lot of great names: The Tendulkars, Bevans, Pontins, Gayles, Jayawardenes, Dhonis and lots more. What puts the former names into this super class is their ability to CONSISTENTLY transfer the way they play in limited overs cricket into test cricket arena with great success. The latter group are overly timid in test cricket and even though they produce some VERY SHORT SPURTS OF ENTERTAINMENT occasionally, they provide real boredom most times when on show!

  • AvidCricFan on July 27, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    India was lucky to get decent performance from Karthik. However, he can't fit in the team as a specialist batsman. In 64 ODIs, he has scored 7 50's and no century at a strike rate of 74. This is not a performance of a specialist batsman. Even in the recent series' his performance has been anything than wanting. Rohit Sharma is still a questionable selection. His performance was acceptable in CTL but has been wanting in WI and now in Zim. It just perplexes me why the players like Pujara and Manoj Tiwari are not given chances. In few chances that Tiwari got, he performed pretty well and Pujara is still waiting to be given chances.

  • dummy4fb on July 27, 2013, 14:49 GMT

    This is a series to give experience to uncapped / inexperienced faces in Indian team. That should be the objective. As there is a massive difference in the quality of both sides , India will definitely win the series , wont be surprised even with a 5-0 score. But what about the actual intentions of sending such a team ? team management has to sit back & think if the objectives set by the selection panel has been met or not. Vinay should be replaced by Mohit Sharma ( playing rest of the 3 matches). Vinay had enough chances , but hasn't utilised properly. So if Kohli want to give him another chance , that should be in the last game , preferably at the expense of Shami Ahamed ( Of course , he is young at this level too , he need to sit out only if Vinay need another go). Among others , Rasool , Pujara, Rayudu & Rahane should play the rest of the matches. Dhawan & Jadeja should be rested for next three & bench out of form Raina as well. I think Kohli will make the changes only after 3-0

  • dummy4fb on July 27, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    @Blade-Runner, You had propagated before Pallekele ODI that it is a fast n bouncy wicket. But Man of Match David Miller quoted, "The wicket was very slow and had a lot of turn. We really had to work hard up front and try and build partnerships and take a little bit longer than normal. This innings means a lot to me."

    Who is right? A player who had played on that pitch or you my dear Blade-Runner? You say "Dhawan's innings included 90% of luck n 10% of talent". Tell me which standards you applied to measure Dhawan's innings of 90% Luck-10% talent? You further say, "need to accept some fair n constructive criticisms".

    Tell me what is this fair n constructive criticism?

  • Srinivash97 on July 27, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    Testing time awaits India.Conditions here are similar to that of South Africa. Zimbabwe's bowlers really bowled well initially but didn't get the momentum going.The difference in S.A. will be their bowlers are more experienced. Good to see Mohammed Shami move the ball early, but was unlucky and didn't get any wickets. Expecting a great match on Sunday.