Can We Please Give Shikhar Dhawan His Due?
Shikhar Dhawan has scored the most number of runs at the 100th ODI mark among Indians, but is he appreciated enough?
Video Editor: Vivek Gupta
After playing 100 ODIs, which Indian cricketer had scored the most runs? Was it Virat Kohli? Sachin Tendulkar? Sourav Ganguly? Or well… Sunil Gavaskar? None of the above really – it’s Shikhar Dhawan.
Yeps, Shikhar Gabbar Dhawan. In fact, Dhawan celebrated his 100th ODI outing by also smashing a brilliant century, becoming the first-ever Indian to score a century in his 100th ODI.
That’s not all – his century against the Proteas also made him the first Indian opener in 17 years to score a century in South Africa. Sachin and Sourav were the last opening batsmen to get to the three-figure mark – in 2001! Shikhar Dhawan has now scored a ton at the home of all big test-playing nations – Australia, England and South Africa.
But since India went on to lose the Johannesburg ODI, and South Africa managed to get on the board for the first time in the series, I would be protesting the lack of focus on Dhawan’s success in the match and also, well, pretty much on the rest of his career.
I mean, it’s understandable, these are the times of Virat Kohli, after all. But to put Dhawan’s run in perspective, let’s stack his numbers against Kohli’s to draw that meandering spotlight back on the Delhi batsman.
Shikhar Dhawan, to start from the most recent, is ahead of Virat after 100 ODIs. His 4,309 runs puts him ahead of Virat, who held the record before him, with 4,107 runs in his first 100 ODIs. In fact, Dhawan is at the second spot among international cricketers as well, with only Hashim Amla scoring more than him at the 100 ODI mark (4,808).
Shikhar was also quicker to 2,000 career ODI runs than Virat. And to 3,000 as well.
But this is not a Virat vs Dhawan debate. Because it is, in fact, his Delhi teammate whose captaincy seems to bring out the best in Shikhar. In the 38 ODIs Dhawan has played under Kohli as captain, he averages 52 (against a career average of 46) and has been the team’s top run-getter in nearly a third of the matches, one match fewer than captain Kohli.
‘But wait, most of the numbers are from bilateral series, what counts are the big events’ – if that’s what you're thinking, then hop onto the Dhawan bandwagon because once again, among Indians, Shikhar Dhawan has the highest batting average at ICC events.
At the 2013 Champions Trophy, his first big ICC event, Shikhar finished as the tournament’s – not just India’s – highest-scorer, and the man of the tournament.
At the 2015 ICC World Cup, he was India’s highest run-scorer. And once again, at the 2017 Champions Trophy, Shikhar was the top run-getter among Indians.
But much before Shikhar made an impact for India at these ICC events, his teenage version won over critics at the 2004 ICC Under-19 world cup. Yes, a long long time ago. He scored 505 runs in 7 matches and was, there too, the top scorer of the event and the man of the series.
But it took him a long time to find his way to the Indian dressing room. There were consistent performances in the domestic circuit, but a certain Virender Sehwag- Gautam Gambhir duo had cemented their spots at the top of the order.
Shikhar bided his time and it was only at the age of 27 that he made his Test debut. And he marked it with an 187 in his first-ever Test innings. Shikhar Dhawan was finally collecting his due – and he still is.
Do you agree Shikhar Dhawan isn’t given his due? Is he not appreciated enough? Tell us in the comments section below.
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