Numbers reveal why Shikhar Dhawan is India’s X-factor leading into the World Cup
In 13 matches this year, the southpaw has accumulated 770 runs at an average of 64.16 and with a strike rate of 104.47.Updated: Sep 25, 2018 11:04 IST
“First five overs we talk about cricket, discuss what we need to do, where we take singles and which fielders we can out-do under pressure. After that, it’s better to leave Dhawan alone,” captain Rohit Sharma spoke about his batting partner after they combined to flatten Pakistan in the super four encounter.
Everything is different about Dhawan these days, he smiles on the field, he trundles around without a care in the world and when he bats, he win matches, a far cry from the jittery soul who kept prodding and poking against the moving Dukes ball just last month.
The pitches have suited him, well, pitches for ODI cricket anywhere in the world suit him as they do not assist any sideward movement and Dhawan can stay beside the line of the ball and play with gay abandon. In 13 matches this year, the southpaw has accumulated 770 runs at an average of 64.16 and with a strike rate of 104.47.
He has always been prolific on the off side, but now he has the ability to stay back and clip, nudge and nurdle deliveries which are straight through square leg and mid-wicket. He tends to shuffle towards the off-stump against deliveries and brings his bottom hand to great use to play around with the field.
In last 15 ODI innings, Dhawan has scored 938 runs with an average of 72.15. The bowlers tend to believe that they can bowl back of a length and tuck him up, but Dhawan has now found a way to deal with it. He stays back, picks up the length and he flicks it away over short fine leg. It is more of a shovel than a pull, but it yields him results.
And, he is a man for the big stage. Dhawan has never averaged below 50.00 in terms of batting average in 5+ team tournaments and his strike rate has always been upwards 90 in tournaments with more than 5 teams.
The left-hander has scored runs with an average of 44.00 in a bilateral series compared to his 65.28 in 5+ team tournaments, which only underlines his impact in any multi-nation tournaments. He has scored 7 centuries which is the joint highest in tournaments with more than five teams
In England, he dropped a catch in first slip and as the ball trickled away to the third man fence, Kohli was holding his face in disbelief but Dhawan was smiling away. He appears to be carefree, but when the conditions are in his favour, this is his biggest virtue. India can only hope that he carries this form for the next 15 months and with Rohit Sharma driving home his own impact at the other end, this combination promises to fetch bumper runs.