Amidst all the excitement and the build-up for India’s tour of England, one player who comes into the T20Is in scintillating form, is southpaw Shikhar Dhawan. It is a clear predicament that an in-form Shikhar Dhawan can turn on the heat in English summer. The Asian giants are set to lock horns with England across formats. India is set to play 3 T20Is, 3 ODIs and 5 Test matches starting 3rd July in upcoming India’s tour of England 2018.
One could not have asked for more as the Indian cricket team has been buzzing with confidence after ripping apart Ireland on Wednesday. The 2-match series that is set to provide the base for the limited-overs series against England has already seen them get off to a fantastic note.
The left-handed opening batsman has been in exceptional touch with the bat of late and 2018 could just be the year where Dhawan lives up to the billing. Runs have flown at ease from his bat and that has been a striking factor for India in T20Is. There has been a rich fervour in the manner which Dhawan has excelled in the limited-over format.
The southpaw continued his mastery in the format after striking a blatant 74 against Ireland in the first T20I in Dublin before being rested in the 2nd match.
Dhawan has been a treat to watch and his choice of shots has had a positive effect in the side especially upfront. The valiant half-century will give him the right amount of positivity in order to set himself for the pivotal series against the Englishmen.
A fantastic start to the season
Dhawan’s powerful performances started in the 2-1 series win against South Africa earlier this year which marked the way for a special journey. The form was told once again in the tri-series Nidahas Trophy next in Sri Lanka. Dhawan was crucial for India’s success in both these series. His consistency also paid dividends in the Indian Premier League 2018, where he guided Sunrisers Hyderabad to the finale.
What is essential here for India and for Dhawan is that the T20Is will give the team a much-needed breathing space to shift their focus next on the ODIs and the Test series. With a strong start already made, it now gives the side a possibility of winning back-to-back T20I series. That’s where an in-form Dhawan comes into play.
The Delhi-born player stepped down the track to the pacers fearlessly and continued hoiking them over the leg side. His approach against the short balls away to the boundary with fierce pulls and cuts was pleasing to the eye. He also faced the spinners with a lot of finesse. Against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh too, the intent was loud and clear. He got his highest score in T20Is (90) against the Lankans.
Dhawan: India’s mainstay at the moment
Dhawan is India’s mainstay in all three formats at the moment and he has plenty to look forward to. If India aims to come out strong in this vital tour, then the team needs a strong foundation up front. Who better than Dhawan?
In the game against Ireland, Dhawan shared a 160-run opening stand with Rohit Sharma. The 8,000 crowd, including a large contingent of Indian supporters, was treated to an exhibition of top-class batting from the stylish pair.
The opening partnership was the fourth highest in T20 internationals and just five runs short of India’s best between Sharma and KL Rahul, set just six months ago against Sri Lanka. Dhawan also became the 6th Indian player to complete 6000 runs in T20 cricket across all formats.
This also shows the credit that needs to be given to the senior player for coming strong consistently. England will be tested with these two experienced stars knowing how to go about their game.
Moreover, he is pretty much accustomed to what awaits him in England. In 5 ODIs against the hosts, he has scored 187 runs with a best of an unbeaten 97 at an average of 46.50. England is a clever unit and will keep their plans ready to stop the in-form batsman. But given his attributes at the moment, it will take a lot to stop him.
Dhawan handling responsibilities well
As a senior member, Dhawan has to take the responsibility on a consistent basis. During this purple patch, Dhawan has managed to show that. Importantly, he did not throw the chances away. He has scored 396 runs in 9 T20Is this season at an average of 44. He has three more T20Is to get the average higher further.
The strong feature in this format also prepares him well for the 50-over game. India will be aiming to provide a stern challenge to the number one side in the world, and Dhawan could stake a claim in being the fulcrum of the side. Dhawan will be eager to take it game by game ahead of the pivotal Test series starting August 1. That’s where the real test lies. This could be the moment where Dhawan embraces greatness.
That is why success followed in the one-off Test match against Afghanistan too. Dhawan’s strength in his batting has been stepping out of the crease often. This year has seen the 32-year-old play with a positive mindset and that has helped him dictate the bowlers in crunch situations.