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Shikhar Dhawan: Second lifeline in Tests

Shikhar Dhawan: Second lifeline in Tests

Pranta Deb Emon
Published Date: 21 Nov 2015 | Update : 21 Nov 2015
Shikhar Dhawan has to perform exceptionally well in third Test against South Africa to keep his place in the team secured. India’s cricketing Gabbar Shikhar Dhawan is surely under the pump with his bat not yielding as many runs as it expected of him in the ongoing Gandhi-Mandela Series 2015. With bench full of talent already waiting take his opening position Dhawan’s unbeaten knock of 45 in the second Test at Bengaluru came at a very crucial time. A strong and commanding performance in the third Test at Nagpur will work wonders for his longevity in the Tests. India has preferred opener Shikhar Dhawan, who is having a torrid home season with the bat, now looks to be given a second life after he stayed unbeaten on 45 on Day 1 of the 2nd Test match against South Africa at Bengaluru. Mind you, Dhawan is coming off an injury Layoff, which forced him to miss second and the third Test against Sri Lanka. Dhawan before his injury scored one strokeful century (173) and a gritty hundred (134) against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka respectively. If one is following Dhawan’s Test career for the past year or so it is not been impressive at all. Dhawan in the last year has had series against New Zealand, England and Australia in all foreign conditions (sub continent series against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were more nearer to home conditions). Dhawan has been persisted for a long time and talks about dropping him from the team have doing the rounds. Notwithstanding the public backlash, Dhawan somehow manages to come with a career-saving knock every now and then, silencing all his critics (for a while). Dhawan’s major problem has been his lack of footwork and the urge to go big with the bat every time he comes in the middle. Dhawan’s average away from home is even lower than his current Test average (42). Dhawan average’s only 39.78 in 12 matches he has played away from home. Dhawan’s home form has been good and he has looked much sorted. Dhawan’s average at home is 57.60 from 5 matches scoring a century on debut against Australia at Mohali in 2013. With a potent South African bowling line-up with the likes of Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada, Dhawan has so far been caught napping and been dismissed in the same fashion twice in the first Test at Mohali by Morkel. Dhawan is surely under pressure to make most of his chances with KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma waiting in the wings. With Murali Vijay having cemented his place as the No. 1 opener in the team, Dhawan has the improbable task of keeping Rahul and Rohit at bay. KL Rahul in his limited chances has batted well enough to ensure that he keeps the current openers on his toes. KL Rahul has scored 2 centuries averaging 31.5, opening the innings. To Dhawan’s advantage, he is more experienced at international level and well versed with the South African style of bowling (Remember, ICC Champions Trophy hundred against South Africa?) even though it was an One-Day International (ODI) he did look in command from the get go on a seaming wicket. India’s third Test against South Africa at Nagpur will prove to be milestone match in Dhawan’s career as it will very well decide the fate of his playing days in the team in the near future. Dhawan has received support from India’s original little master Sunil Gavaskar, who is of the opinion that he should be given a fair go at the opening spot before discarding him. Skipper Virat Kohli‘s public approval of Dhawan’s place in the team will only give him the much-needed boost to perform well and prove his worth to his skipper and the team management. Dhawan’ second wind has just begun and it is up to him whether to let it carry him to newer heights of greatness or whirlpool him out of the team on a long and lonely road.

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