I want to grab this chance, says confident Dhawan

I want to grab this chance, says confident Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan made his one-day debut against Australia in Visakhapatnam where his batting stint lasted no more than two deliveries, paceman Clint McKay cleaning him up for a duck.

Almost two years and four months after that forgettable moment, the left-hander makes his Test debut, once again against Australia. The Delhi opener, who will be stepping into the huge shoes of his senior state-mate Virender Sehwag, will be hoping to for a much better outing.   

“The coach and the captain told me about my debut last evening,” said a visibly happy Dhawan after Wednesday’s practice session. “I was very happy to hear the news that I will be making my (Test) debut. I just want to grab this opportunity. I have told my family, my wife and children who are in Australia.”

Dhawan is married to Aesha Mukherjee, half British and half Bengali and who lives for most part of the year in Australia. A veteran of 81 first-class matches wherein he has gathered 5679 runs at a healthy average of over 45, Dhawan came into the Test squad following an excellent domestic season. In Ranji Trophy he collected 461 runs at over 50 and in the Irani Cup he plundered 309 runs at over 77. Having made his first-class debut in 2004, Dhawan cuts his teeth in Test cricket with adequate experience.

“In domestic cricket in the first year not many opponents will know about your game,” noted Dhawan about his journey as a player. “By the time you are into third or fourth year, the opponents would have found out your strengths and weaknesses and they will work on it. Bowlers will test your patience.

“Especially in north (India), where we play on green tops, if you keep performing in these challenging conditions, you get that confidence that you are ready for the next level. I feel lucky that I have played for six-seven years in domestic cricket and the fact that I am making my Test debut with that experience, I feel more confident,” he remarked.

However harsh they might be, comparisons will obviously be drawn between M Vijay and Dhawan, the pair set to open here in the third Test, and the axed combo of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag. “We don’t have the pressure of comparison,” Dhawan maintained. “... Because, Gautam bhai and Virender bhai have achieved whatever they have over a period of time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Hopefully if we perform well over a period of time, we will be regarded as well as them.”

The presence of Vijay at the other end, Dhawan felt, would make feel comfortable. “There will be a great comfort factor batting with Vijay. We have played together in the Irani Cup, so that coordination is there between us. We have that understanding between us while running between the wickets. So that would help me in this match,” he pointed out.

Dhawan said he had discussed a few things with Sehwag so as to be mentally prepared for the big moment. “When Viru paji was in the side for the last two matches, I was speaking to him about his experience of making India debut. There will be nerves but at the same time you have to perform well for your side. I guess it’s the same with every player (making his debut).”

Mohali facts

* India have played Australia twice in the past in Mohali,
winning on both the occasions. In 2008, they inflicted a 320-run win over the Aussies while in 2010 India managed to eke out a one-wicket victory courtesy a gutsy innings by VVS Laxman.
* In Mohali, India enjoy a respectable record, winning four Tests out of 10, and their lone defeat came against the West Indies in 1994 in the inaugural Test at this venue.
* Going into the third Test, India’s R Ashwin tops the wicket-takers’ chart with 18 wickets at 16.77 with seven for 103 at Chennai his best figure in an innings so far.
* Indian skipper MS Dhoni and his Australian counterpart Michael Clarke are the leading scorers in the series so far with 268 runs apiece. Dhoni averages 134, with 224 as his highest. Clarke averages 67 and his highest is 130 and both the innings were played at Chepauk in the first Test.