Shikhar Dhawan: The underappreciated gem team India needs to value
22 February 2015: It was a hot afternoon in Melbourne. The city was overjoyed with the idea of hosting the biggest cricket tournament in four years. The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) was hosting its second game in the tournament. India was taking on South Africa on a super Sunday.
With a glare in his eyes, springs in his steps and determination on his mind walked out the Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan. The crowd cheered as Dhawan started his innings with two boundaries. The moderate sounds intensified promptly into chants of "Kohli! Kohli!" as a modern-day great walked out to bat.
"The devil is at its strongest whilst we're looking the other way, like a program running in the background silently, while we're busy doing something else." The quote describes the southpaw's innings perfectly. He scored an uncharacteristic 137 while Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane seized the spotlight.
The flamboyant batsman's career has been full of ups and downs albeit the records say otherwise. Erstwhile the Delhi-born was believed to be Virender Sehwag's successor. He proved his credentials in his debut test against Australia at Mohali. The persistence dissipated expeditiously while the grit, determination, and glare became tedious.
His form deteriorated resulting in a rough patch mixed with pain in form of injuries. With a lot of options at the top of the order, the 32-year-old found his way out of the side. Battling with injuries and dissatisfactory form he had to contend his way back into the Indian lineup. Dhawan reclaimed his spot in the side with his interminable hard work.
With his admirable resilience and commitment, Dhawan has made a miraculous comeback and how. Despite his relentless consistency, he has been the targeted one. Dhawan is the boy of Indian cricket who always effectuates his task but still extorts enormous punishments.
In the first test in South Africa when other batsmen lacked intent, Dhawan exhibited some grit and determination in his short stint at the crease. He was discarded in the next test due to his faulty technique. The faulty technique helped to bolster the Indian batting lineup in the ODIs. The resplendent batsman played aggressively in the entire six-match series. He scored 323 in six innings.
Dhawan is often criticized on social media for his failures. A lot of people demurred about Dhawan's place in the side before the South African series. He has startled the critics with his persistent success over the past.
In the era of Tendulkar, the "Sachin! Sachin!" chants outshone those of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. In the same manner, the Dhoni and Kohli chants have brought down the magnitude of the Dhawan chants which were never in place.
In today's world, a Bitcoin will be fancied over a couple thousand dollars. Similarly, Virat Kohli has a higher value and Dhawan has endured to leave a perennial impression.
The 32-year-old has enhanced in stature since his arrival into international cricket. He has shown extensive improvement in the last few years and his statistics have highlighted this fact over the course of the career. The Indian fans should start appreciating Dhawan for all his contributions Indian cricket.