Hard work, Dhawan's mantra for success

Hard work, Dhawan's mantra for success

Coaches happy with Delhiites progress; dropped Gambhir puts up a brave face

Hard work and a steely resolve has helped Shikhar Dhawan, the left-hander from Delhi, earn his maiden Test call in the forthcoming series against Australia.

In the squad announced on Sunday for the first two Tests in Chennai and Hyderabad, Dhawan replaced state-mate  Gautam Gambhir, who was dropped following a poor run. Gambhir, who had averaged 30.2 in 26 Tests, will captain India ‘A’ in place of Dhawan in the three-day warm-up game against Australia beginning February 16 at Chennai.

Dhawan, having waited for long, would love to grab the opportunity which has come at the right time, and playing at home, if given a chance, would work to the 27-year-old’s advantage.

The Delhi skipper, who has played five ODIs and a T20 match, had a good run in the domestic circuit in the last couple of years. This season he has amassed 833 runs with  four hundreds and three fifties that included back-to-back centuries in the Duleep Trophy quarterfinals and semifinals.

He later capped the season with a quickfire 110 in Delhi’s six-wicket victory over England XI in the warm-up  match ahead of the ODI series at Ferozshah Kotla stadium.

His coaches, Tarak Sinha and Madan Sharma, had expected Dhawan to get into the national  fold several years ago. His sensational start, being adjudged the player of the tournament in the 2003-04 under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh and subsequent good performances in his maiden Ranji Trophy season, did raise hopes. But that was not to be. His casual approach in the initial years went against Dhawan. He was guilty of throwing away his wicket when saddled with responsibility. The realisation, even if a trifle late, made him a better player.

Sinha, his coach at the Sonnet Club, noted, " He was very promising and should have played much earlier. The chance has come at the right time because India's regular openers are not doing well. Shikhar has the qualities to take on the Australian attack and has been consistent for some time now.

“It works in his favour that he can play quality fast bowling. He has the technique. He should remain cool, look to score big."

His coach during junior cricket, Madan Sharma, felt  that Dhawan had learned to put value to his wicket. “I am very happy that he has finally got a chance. He had been a bit unlucky in the  few opportunities he got in the ODIs. But he has matured a lot as a cricketer. He has understood the importance of keeping his wicket. In all his recent innings, he had tried to carry his bat. This was not there earlier."

Delhi chief coach Vijay Dahiya said the call-up had been the reward of his consistency. “ He had performed consistently not only in this season but in the last couple of seasons. If given a chance, he should look to make the most of it. I would love to see him grow more mentally."

 Meanwhile  Gambhir , whose last Test century came more than three years ago, tweeted: "No  sympathies plz. Lookin forward to training n then d india a game. Chin up guys, it’s time to show some steel. Come on.

"Had my bak to d wall in d past 2, dis is no difrent. Will fight. Very hapy 4 vijay n shikhar. Want India to win @ all costs, wid or widou me."

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