The sign of a successful Test team in the history of cricket has arguably been a resilient opening partnership; take Hayden and Langer for instance. India, on their part, have seen their fair share of opening brilliance with Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir being the perfect specimen of it.
In the recent past, however, India have woefully struggled especially in maintaining the opening stance mostly in overseas conditions. One of the key reasons why India have failed miserably in this department has been the constant chopping and changing by the team management. One such victim of this revolving door policy has been Shikhar Dhawan. A batter with a wide range of stroke play, Dhawan has often cut a clueless figure in the Test arena. But there is no denying the fact that he still remains one of India’s prized possession.
Hence, here is why we believe Shikhar Dhawan deserves an extended rope in the Test arena.
1. Left-right combination –
Having a left-right combination in one’s opening order not just unsettle the line and length of a bowler, but also disturbs his rhythm. There are high chances that rotating the strike at a regular interval, in one way or the other, will muddle the already set pattern of the bowler. And in order to break the partnership, a bowler always has to come up with an innovative plan.
As things stand right now, especially in the Indian team, there is a dearth of left-handers in the batting order, as every current top as well as middle order batsmen are right-handers.
2. Current ODI form –
Despite his shortcomings so far on the Test circuit, there is simply no denying the fact that Shikhar Dhawan is one of the best batsmen around in the limited overs format of the game. Rarely does the maverick southpaw fails to get India off to a flying start. There is a belief around in some circuits that if given an extended run without exerting pressure on him to cling on his spot, Dhawan could replicate his performances in the longest format of the game, If this strategy succeeds, India would have one of the most dangerous openers around in world cricket.
3. Lack of other options –
Murali Vijay has long been India’s first-choice opener in the Test arena, but his form has slowly and steadily dwindled and at the age of 34, he is hardly in the prime of his career any longer. With Vijay in the final stage of his career, KL Rahul despite being touted as a special talent has failed to consistently perform at the top of the order and often gives his wicket away with streaky shots. Prithvi Shaw is an exciting young talent and is one for the future but he is too inexperienced currently to be put into the line of fire. Mayank Agarwal despite being a run machine in domestic cricket, failed miserably in the IPL and that may cost him down the line for failing on the big stage.
4. Mentally tough –
The Indian team management have often praised Shikhar Dhawan’s mental toughness and he is not a player who gets bogged down in the pressure situations. he always keeps a calm head on his shoulders and calmly goes about with his business. This is an excellent quality to have in the Test circuit where the heat is on, especially on an overseas tour for India where the ball is often nipping around. Dhawan will never let the pressure exerted by the bowlers get on his nerves.
5. Aggressive starts –
One of the golden era’s of Indian cricket when MS Dhoni had the command of the team, India often dominated games thanks to the aggressive starts afforded to them by Virender Sehwag. Thanks to his fearless attitude, India would always be one step ahead in terms of the pace of the game, which helped them in their ascendancy to the top of the rankings. Shikhar Dhawan is a player who has all the talent in the world to play a similar role for India and he has proved that in his debut Test match against Australia as well his innings against Afghanistan in Bangalore. All he needs, is a little more faith from the team management.