Shikhar’s exploits qualify him as one of India’s greatest southpaws (Image: ANI)
I have a hazy memory of the first time I saw Shikhar Dhawan play. That was a time when I used to be an avid follower of domestic and junior cricket.
Failures of senior cricket team prompted me to sift through promising young players. I used to don the hat of an expert and look for talents with all the hopes in the world.
I saw Shikhar in one of the junior matches. He was scoring heavily then. My initial impression was that of a player who was technically sound and was very methodological in his approach and thought him to be a nice prospect.
Then he took time to get into Indian team. I remember that he was playing ‘India A’ games alongside MSD and was in a reckoning for a place in Indian squad.
Sadly, he was not picked as another southpaw in Gambhir was making headlines playing for India. He finally got his chance against Australia in a Test match at Mohali.
Shikhar fired all cylinders on debut and made a swashbuckling 180 odd runs. He played cover drives after cover drives. What godly cover drives they were. A cover drive that would test the best in business.
That was the place from where he never looked back. His impact to fame was such that he was a star with all the anticipation.
I remember him going into the IPL with a lot of expectations that he would blast everything that would come his way.
By that yardstick, he did fair bit of justice to what people anticipated. He, alongside Rohit and Virat, scored heavily and owned a big pie in the success of the Indian cricket team in that era.
Then came the slump. He had a dry run with the willow owing to inconsistencies plaguing his batting. Things were not going smoothly for him. There would be an initial flourish but starts did not convert into big scores.
And, he came to a position where talks of him dropping from team had found more weight.
And, then came the resurgence. Whatever unexpected it may be but surely a pleasing one. Now, he is on a roll.
His innings are no more about that godly cover drives only. He now possesses godly cuts and pulls as well.
Other shots that I mentioned was there in his armoury earlier as well. But, I supplemented those with 'godly' adjective to describe it in best way possible.
When in flow, I can sense an aura of a Lara. An analogy to describe what kind of form he is in. Now, he is on the cusp of being called one of the greatest southpaws that India has ever produced.
To me, the journey so far is a topsy-turvy ride. But, the bumps in the road has not broken this man called 'Gabbar.'
Rather he has emerged as a better player. And, this was acknowledged by the man himself in an interview recently.
Hope he breaks another mark and he would play even better for the delight of fan like me. A champion in all standard and means. Thumbs up.