Shikhar Dhawan announced himself to international cricket by scoring the fastest century on debut against Australia . The way he butchered the bowlers with his cuts, hook and pulls, it looked like Dhawan has been around the international circuit for years rather than playing his first game. He also showed during the innings he was not all brute force and power by continuously playing glorious cover drives.
The way he took the attack to the opposition on his debut had similar traces of Phil Hughes debut innings against South Africa. Although Hughes was put under the cosh by Steyn and co due to the pitch being lively, Hughes still took the onus on himself to butcher the ball whenever it was in his zone.
Although the Mohali pitch didn’t have the same bite as the Durban pitch Dhawan still played an aggressive innings which took the wind out of the Australian bowlers.
Dhawan has successfully replicated his form the test arena to the one day matches where he played brilliantly in the Champions trophy to help India clinch the trophy. In the first match against South Africa he ended up scoring 114, playing the same shots he did against the Aussie bowlers during his Test debut. he wasn’t afraid to dance down the wicket to alter the length of the bowlers to his own liking. He got hit on the heard by a Ryan McLaren delivery which left him with a cut. But instead of shaking him, he used that as a pedestal to play his innings with a greater ferocity, pulling and hooking all short pitched balls which were dished out to him by the South African bowlers. Performance like these against West Indies and Pakistan had made him earn the Golden Bat at the end of the tournament. Dhawan scored 363 runs in 5 matches which includes 2 centuries.
One thought things couldn’t get any better for Dhawan in his first year but it did when he smashed record breaking 248 for India A against South Africa A. The opposition was bemused, the captain admitting that he had no clue as to where to set his fielders as Dhawan was in his elements and was smashing the ball left, right and center. Although it wasn’t an international match still the South Africa A had bowlers who had played for the national team before.
After witnessing this knock former Indian wicketkeeper and now coach of Delhi Vijay Dahiya stated that Dhawan always had the talent and the shots but what changed for him was during the beginning of 2012 Ranji season where he tried to become selective with his shots. Earlier he used to want to hit every ball out of the park but with more time in the middle and experience, he realized that if he became selective with his shot making then the efficiency will be higher as well.
After this magnificent innings he told reporters that he is in awe to be to be mentioned in the same bracket as Tendulkar and Shewag as both of them have scored double hundreds.
But Dhawan shot down the comparison between him and Shewag stating that Shewag is a living legend in India and he cannot be compared to him. But what was interesting to hear that Dhawan stated he wanted to make his own name in Indian cricket, for this Jat with his twirly mustache and power shots in his armory, he is the next big star in Indian cricket.