Of Dhawan, Dreams & Debut
He was a newbie then, fresh from the IPL’s inaugural season’s oven. A soft-spoken youngster whose eyes spoke 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 debut isn’t child’s play. He had everything to lose yet he was gutsy enough to take the risk. He might have had 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 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 doesn’t really betray what Sehwag might be going through after Dhawan’s blitzkrieg, but it certainly shows that he has the right sporting spirit.
Playing since the age of 11, Shikhar was dropped twice from the U-16 squad but his never-say-die attitude fetched him the Man of the Tournament in the 2004 U-19 World Cup. And as the inaugural Indian Premier League in 2008 changed the lives of many young aspirants, he was also one of them, quietly moving into the Delhi Daredevils squad and proving to be a sensible selection. While Yusuf Pathan and Pragyan Ojha made their way into the Indian squad for the Bangladesh tri-series in the same year, he was left back home, his dream to play for India unfulfilled despite his awesome show in the IPL. Five years later, he’s the one the 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 scanned the surroundings, the bunch of trophies in his drawing room gave me a sense of his ambitious story. His words oozed with confidence, as he 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 the U-19 World Cup winning captain Virat Kohli, Dhawan never had the same kind of fame and popularity. And, in retrospect, he probably didn’t care even about it.
Personally, I’m glad that he will be remembered for the record he achieved, scoring the fastest Test ton on debut, and not for missing out on a double ton. There’s something indescribable about the way I feel for people who accomplish their cherished dreams. And today, I feel good for someone I have known, yet not known.