Shikhar Dhawan is turning out to be the ton-up man for Team India. With three centuries in successive international matches, the moustache-twirling opener is enjoying an incredible run. Several pundits, including the legendary Kapil Dev, have been quick to hail Dhawan as the future of Indian batting.
However, there was a time when Dhawan wanted to leave the game after failing to make it to the national squad on numerous occasions, revealed his first coach Tarak Sinha.
“He was quite frustrated when his name wouldn’t figure in the India squad. It hurt him the most when his junior Delhi teammate Virat Kohli was picked in the team ahead of him.
“He would often ask me, ‘I am good enough. Why am I not picked’. There came a phase when he couldn’t take any more rejection and wanted to leave the sport,” Sinha told MiD DAY yesterday.
That’s when Sinha helped Dhawan overcome the disappointment. “It was quite difficult to convince him to continue with cricket. But I managed to keep him going. I assured him his efforts wouldn’t go waste. I am very happy for him. He has worked very hard and deserves every bit of his success,” Sinha said.
Dhawan first came into limelight when he was awarded the player of the tournament in the U-19 World Cup in 2003-04. He soon made his first-class debut in 2004 against Andhra Pradesh. Dhawan continued to toil in first-class cricket under the shadows of Delhi teammates Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag.
Luck finally seemed to have smiled on Dhawan when he made his one-day international debut in 2010 against Australia. His maiden half-century came on the tour of West Indies in 2011 in the opening game, but he failed to keep up the form in the remaining three matches.
As a result, Dhawan was once again confined to domestic tournaments and T20 leagues. But his fortunes turned once again and Dhawan was rewarded with another shot at international cricket after openers Gambhir and Sehwag lost form dramatically. At the age of 27, Dhawan made a stunning Test debut and has never looked back.
He seized his opportunity with a record-breaking 187 off 174 balls against Australia at Mohali last March. He followed it up with his maiden ton in ODIs with a 94-ball 114 against South Africa in the Champions Trophy opener. On Tuesday, at the Oval, Dhawan smashed his second consecutive ton with an unbeaten 102 to help India thump West Indies and seal their semi-final berth.
“He has shown tremendous maturity. His body balance is perfect. His fearless attitude is the reason behind his good performance,” said Sinha, who coached Dhawan since he was 12.
Sinha said Dhawan has learnt to put a price on his wicket. “He now understands the importance of staying at the wicket. He was very impatient earlier, but has worked on this aspect. The long wait has made him more determined to make every opportunity count,” the coach concluded.