Shikhar Dhawan: The Silent Rampage

This may be one of those tournaments that slip easily under the radar even for ardent Indian cricket fans. Nevertheless, one man is not taking his job lightly. Far from it. Having scored his second half century in the Twenty20 tri series in Sri Lanka, Shikhar Dhawan is showing once more he is game for anything.

Marching silently in the shadows of the erstwhile Indian captain, Virat Kohli, Dhawan is silently making waves. Unmindful of the quality of the opposition or the lesser known teammates in his dressing room, Shikhar Dhawan is going about his business like a thorough professional, proving to be a thorn in the flesh even when the hosts managed to pull one past India in the opening match of the tri series also featuring Bangladesh. In his true, elegant, unassuming style, Dhawan has already added substance to the relatively low profile tournament ahead of the Indian Premier League.

The Indian southpaw and opening batsman recently returned from the tour of South Africa falling behind only the Indian captain, Virat Kohli, who had a phenomenal time with the bat with a whopping run tally of 558 runs in the six bilateral one day international series. Else, the series belonged to Shikhar Dhawan for his 323 runs. Even then Dhawan walked away with high accolades, scoring his thirteenth one day international century in his 100th milestone one day international, behind only South Africa’s Hashim Amla for the highest run tally at the hundredth one day international appearances mark.

Dhawan stood out in the first Twenty20 international of the tri series, missing his century narrowly. Still, Dhawan’s half century in the second match ensured India stayed in contention even without some of their more regular players. Not one to be overly concerned about the twists and turns in his career and yet ambitious, in the past year Dhawan even made up for Test absences when the opportunity leaped at him. Yet he has continued to keep the numbers ticking healthily in the limited overs format unlike any Indian cricketer apart from Kohli.

Dhawan is no stranger to hiccups and phenomenal comebacks. The thirty-two year old enigmatic batsman and opener turned around a forgettable outing in Indian colours in 2010 to make a remarkable comeback debut with a rather loud bat, taking it further into the ICC Champions Trophy in England in 2013. He has continued to keep his record intact as one of the highest run getters from Asia making an impact on overseas tours, impressive for someone who has not always had it easy but never shows it.

In contrast to his loud tattoos and flamboyant style with an unconventional moustache, the stylishly silent Dhawan has quietly set the stage on fire, shadowing Kohli in raising India’s profile overseas. Dhawan has continued to highlight the high profile tournaments, whether it has been the ICC Champions Trophy or a bilateral series with Australia. But his phenomenally consistent performances even in such a relatively low profile tournament is turning heads for the manner in which he continues to set the bar.

With a strike rate that is on par with the best and an impressive average of over 46, Shikhar Dhawan is nearing the 4,500 run mark in one day internationals. On that note alone, he is tailgating Hashim Amla which is no small feat, - the South African leading the way with just one more century as does David Warner at the hundred one day international appearances mark. If anything, Shikhar Dhawan is far from reaching his summit. He is setting his sights for more.

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