He was a newbie then. Fresh from IPL’s inaugural season’s oven. A soft-spoken youngster who had his eyes speak more than his words. Shikhar Dhawan’s story is much like any aspiring cricketer’s but the only difference is his arrival in India’s Test side is definitely not run-of-the-mill. Slamming the fastest ever century in the longer format of the game on a debut isn’t a child’s play. He had everything to lose yet he was gutsy enough to take the risk. He might have to rest his bat on 187 runs off 174 balls against Australia in Mohali but only to raise many hopes of a streak of such innings in the times to come.
So, should Sehwag worry? Well, some of the cricket pundits feel so. And the self-proclaimed pundits on twitter, are definite on it. But the man with the original fearless cricketing soul isn’t sounding miffed. He wished Dhawan on his spectacular display on the micro-blogging site and wrote, “Awesome stuff Shikhi boy! 🙂 Best debut ever!! So proud of you. Go for a huge one tomorrow!,” It surely doesn’t say what Sehwag might just be going through after Dhawan’s blitzkrieg but certainly depicts he has the right sportsmanship spirit.
Playing since the age of 11, Shikhar was dropped twice from U-16 squad but his never-say-die attitude fetched him the Man of the Tournament in U-19 World Cup 2004. And as the inaugural Indian Premier League in 2008 changed lives of many young achievers, he was also one of them, quietly moving into Delhi Daredevils squad and proving out to be a sensible choice by the franchise. While Yusuf Pathan and Pragyan Ojha made their way for Bangladesh tri-series in the same yea, he was a player back home whose dream to play for India remained unfulfilled despite his awesome show in the IPL. Five years later now, he’s the one world is talking about. That’s Shikhar Dhawan for you ladies and gentleman – ambitious, raw and determined!
I met him at his residence for an interview and as my eyes rolled around, the bunch of trophies in his drawing room gave me a sense of his ambitious story. Confidence oozed out by the way he simply spoke his heart out. When asked for a picture for the publication, he stood up without much fuss and looked absolutely unperturbed on how he looked for the camera. Unlike Virat Kohli then, he wasn’t the boy next door. He never had the kind of fame and popularity like the U-19 World Cup winning captain Virat did. And simply by looking at him then I can say today, he didn’t care even.
I’m glad he hit the fastest hundred on his debut, now at least it would be a record against his name going down in the cricketing history and not something he missed on his first Test outing, a double ton. There’s something indescribable about the way I feel for people who accomplish their cherished dreams. And today, I’m personally feeling good for someone I have known yet not known.
(Originally published in Zee News)