During the Australia tour of India, a lot of questions were raised at Shikhar Dhawan’s inability to score runs in crunch situations. With the World Cup only days away, the selectors were worried if he would deliver the goods and lead India to a winning total.
Dhawan, a swashbuckling opener, had struggled with his batting in recent times. His technique and footwork were questionable, so were his vulnerability to the intimidating pace attack. Adding salt to the wounds were the recent dismissals by left-arm seamers Trent Boult and Mustafizur Rahman in the warm-up matches.
After a lacklustre performance in the first match against South Africa, Dhawan had a point to prove in the next match against the World Cup favourites Australia. Given his impeccable track record in the ICC World Cup tournaments, Dhawan silenced his critics once and for all with a much-needed 117 off 109 balls. Although the start was a bit sluggish, he carried his game with much finesse which led to a mammoth total of 352 for Team India.
Dhawan’s batting stance had improved considerably in the match against Australia. He, as Brian Lara pointed out, gave himself more room at the wicket on the offside. This made way for his crafty shots and reduced the chances of getting out for an LBW. This also made him counter the lethal inswingers from Australia’s danger man Mitchell Starc. Once he got the hang of it, he was unstoppable smashing 16 fours with the support of rousing fans at The Oval.
It is quite commendable that Dhawan rose to the occasion when the team needed it the most against a formidable Australia. He learned from his past mistakes and did his homework really well. His calmness and composure made him clinically time the innings that eventually led to India's win and him winning the player of the match award.
We wish the best of luck to this glorious southpaw for the upcoming matches.
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