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Is Shikhar Dhawan the answer to the Sehwag conundrum?

Deccan Chargers batsman Shikar Dhawan ra

FILE PHOTO: Shikhar Dhawan

Ever since the beginning of the Test series against the Australians, certain players were looking to cement their place in the starting XI of the team. Some seniors were looking to get back into the team on the back of the performances in Irani cup and the Ranji Trophy series.

Most of the players who would have worked hard in the aforementioned tournaments got their chance to make a comeback, and for some, it was a chance to make the special debut. Right from the start of the tournament, everyone was looking forward to Sehwag’s return to form, and eventually seal his place in the starting XI. Most even said that he would do so after those corrective lenses being worn in the nets suggesting that we might have figured out the reason behind the degradation of his impeccable hand-eye coordination.

As pre-tournament talks went by, everyone also saw the inclusion of a certain Murali Vijay along with Ajinkya Rahane and the new boy, Shikhar Dhawan. These inclusions almost made certain our opening partnerships for the upcoming Test series, that is sidelining the fact that Sehwag wasn’t at his best for a long time now.

Alright then, said the management as they selected the side for the first Test, not surprising anyone with the inclusions of both Sehwag and Vijay. Of course, the inclusion of Harbhajan Singh made it even special for him, as he was playing a memorable 100th Test.

So the proceedings started and the match progressed, we saw quite a few successful spells and finished the Aussie innings. Out came our 2 openers to try and set a strong platform for our middle order to build upon and work towards defeating the Aussies. Those hopes were dashed however, as both were cleaned up by Pattinson and a sense of Deja vu engulfed everyone; Sehwag was out, as was Vijay and India had lost their opening duo cheaply yet again. Thus continued ‘the Sehwag conundrum’!

Fast-forward to the Mohali Test: Sehwag was dropped, Vijay persisted with on the back of a brilliant 100 that guided us to a massive victory over our rivals and surprise, surprise, the debut of a certain Shikhar Dhawan happened over Ajinkya Rahane. Handed his team cap by none other than Sachin Tendulkar, this lad from Delhi was out to prove that he is much more than just an IPL name, or at best a domestic run machine.

Out came our 2 openers without the iconic Sehwag, trying to undo the brilliance of Starc and Smith and win India the series, where we have held the upper hand for majority of the duration. Shikhar Dhawan must have known he was being watched very carefully by Sandeep Patil when he set out with perhaps the best mindset required to demolish the Australian spirit, offence.

Taking a leaf out of the Dhoni’s school of batting, though a little more gracefully, Dhawan set out to maul the Aussie attack, and so he did, ever so brilliantly, playing with a straight bat most of the time, and the occasional hook shot. He played perhaps the most effective innings I’ve seen at the top of the order, reaching his 100 in mere 85 deliveries. He showed the world that a debutant needn’t worry about how he’s going to be viewed later on in his career, he needs to just give his 100% and hope for the best.

After that whirlwind of an innings, he broke a big record by making the fastest century on debut and also highest score on debut by an Indian. His innings should give a signal to both Gambhir and Sehwag that he isn’t giving up his place soon. And more importantly, after his innings today, it really seems that ‘the Sehwag conundrum’ has indeed been answered.

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