'Dhawan is the man for big occasions'
One evening last November, after Delhi had made a solid start in a Ranji Trophy tie through openers Shikhar Dhawan and Unmukt Chand, the media flocked to the victorious U-19 World Cup skipper, leaving the other centurion Dhawan almost alone. Khurram Habib reports.india Updated: Mar 17, 2013 00:01 IST
One evening last November, after Delhi had made a solid start in a Ranji Trophy tie through openers Shikhar Dhawan and Unmukt Chand, the media flocked to the victorious U-19 World Cup skipper, leaving the other centurion Dhawan almost alone.
Unmukt, flush from success in the junior ranks was then seen as the next big thing from Delhi's seemingly endless stream of talented players who have been graduating to the India team.
For Dhawan, who had been discarded after playing five one-dayers, it must have hurt though it had been a regular sight for a few seasons. He had seen many around him graduate to Test level and do well - immediate senior Gautam Gambhir to junior Delhi teammates Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma.
Dhawan was the most promising batting talent in the country back in 2004, after emerging as India's highest run-getter and player of the tournament with 505 runs at an average of 84.16 with three centuries in the U-19 World Cup.
He also finished as Delhi's leading scorer after making his Ranji debut in the following season. He piled on 570 runs in eight Ranji ties in 2007-08 but with Virender Sehwag and Gambhir going good, the wait continued.
Step by step
In a recent chat with HT, Dhawan looked at it positively. "I guess if you climb step by step, it helps," he said, pointing out that he has matured as a batsman and learnt to cut out the impulsiveness.
Two tons in this season's eight Ranji games don't make for a great record but the century against Maharashtra when Delhi needed 270 on the last day on a seaming track, was a blinder. Few days later, he meted out similar treatment to the visiting England bowlers in a warm-up tie. Dhawan's ton in either innings in the 2011 Irani Cup too kept him in loop.
His Delhi teammate Rajat Bhatia explains, "He is a man for the big occasions. His record in Duleep, Irani and now in this Test shows pressure and big games bring the best out in him."