As Shikhar Dhawan was laying into the Australian bowlers in the third Test, three special fans were rejoicing right in the midst of the enemy camp. Praying for his success at their Melbourne home were his wife Ayesha, and her two daughters.
"One of the first things I did after
play ended was call my wife. She had been praying for me, it was an emotional moment," he said. Dhawan married his long-time girlfriend, who is half Bengali and half British, last year, after reportedly meeting her on the social network site, facebook.
It is not just the long-distance relationship that makes him stand apart. His moustache resembles the character of Akshay Kumar in 'Rowdy Rathore', complete with a small ponytail.
"Moochein to acchi lagti hain," he grinned. That adds to his image as a character in the dressing room. As he walked in at tea, Harbhajan twirled his moustache to imitate him before being the first to embrace him.
Adrenaline may be pumping, but his attitude always resembles the message on the tattoo on his shoulder. It says 'Carpe Diem' meaning 'live in the present without worrying about the future'. That spirit helped him make light of his near run-out without facing a delivery, escaping only because the Aussies didn't appeal. "It was lunch after that over. I was also laughing in the dressing room, thinking history could have been made."
But that was unlikely to have happened as he had a prediction of future greatness going for him. "I got a duck on my ODI debut against Australia (in 2010). But Dhoni and (Suresh) Raina came up to me and said players who had got out on zero for India on debut had gone on to become really big. This time I was nervous as it was Australia again, but everything went off well."
The other man who made a difference was Tendulkar, who handed him his Test cap. "As a kid, my dream was to play with Sachin paaji, and that has come true," he said. "He told me 'we all know you as a gutsy player, and you've been doing well in the domestic circuit. We'd like to see your gutsy nature and shots over here'."
And Tendulkar got his wish.