CHENNAI: There are good players on bad pitches, bad ones on good tracks, and then those who excel on good surfaces. Then there are those rare players, who are unpredictable. Some say Mark Waugh was never out of form, and it was lazy elegance that was his undoing. And then there is Shikhar Dhawan — from who nobody, including himself, knows when and where runs will come from. This IPL, where most openers are amongst runs, the left-hander is struggling.
|While Dhawan is Struggling, His Counterparts Have Been Prolific|
Maybe, when Sunrisers Hyderabad face Gujarat Lions on Thursday, he’ll find form. He’ll step out to pacers and drive through the covers. Those cut shots will soon be back, and if he finds the confidence, even his leg-side game – which is not as fluent as other left-handers – might come into play. He’ll eventually twirl his mush and spread both hands, and suddenly, everything will appear normal. One more sound knock might follow, if he carries confidence into the next game. And then there will again be a string of low scores, and calls for him to be dropped.
Welcome to Dhawan’s world of unpredictability.
Even if he endures a lengthy bad patch, his place in Hyderabad team might be beyond questioning, because there are not many Indian batsmen of Dhawan’s calibre warming the bench. But that won’t be the same in the Indian team. In Tests, there is Murali Vijay, who has cemented his place. Everytime the 30-year-old fails, somebody might remind him that a talent like KL Rahul is sitting outside. In limited-overs, he might have felt safe till now. But if he continues like this, and if Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa maintain their hunger for runs, even that place will come under scrutiny. Because in Rohit Sharma, India already have a player who has been given a long rope, irrespective of number of failures, and in Dhawan, they can’t afford to have another.
Most pundits, and even the team management, know where he is failing. Like Sunil Gavaskar pointed out, his footwork is slow to begin with. It is not impossible to correct that, but the problem is, Dhawan hasn’t been showing signs of improvement. “Not only his foot movement, even his trigger shift is slow. If that doesn’t improve, then it’s tough for him to score runs, because if it’s slow, everything else responds slowly, and that makes a huge difference,” former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta told Express.
Right through his struggles, the common factor that has often led to his dismissal has been the percentage of dot balls. It is almost like the opponent has set a trap, and the Delhi lad acknowledges by falling into it. “He’s a capable player, who can win matches on his own, but problem is, when he faces a few dot balls, he tries to come out of it by playing aggressive shots. He needs to understand that it won’t work all the time. He just needs to take his time and get his eye in. Whenever he faces more than 40-50 balls, he has always made big scores. He just needs to be watchful at the start,” concluded Dasgupta.