Sunday | April 18,2021

Shikhar Dhawan likes being ‘No.2’

Naman Singh

Shikhar Dhawan has said he is not afraid of taking on fast bowlers but has a mental block in facing the first ball of an innings when a pacer starts the proceedings.

Dhawan’s Team India opening partner Rohit Sharma, as well as David Warner with whom he played for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, recently revealed the left-handed opener’s reluctance in taking guard to the first ball of the innings if it is bowled by a fast bowler.

In an Instagram live session with former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, Dhawan said: “It’s not like I don’t want to face fast bowlers… I am an opening batsman.

“But yes, I do not like taking strike on the first ball of the match and I am honest about it. But if any youngster like Prithvi (Shaw) comes in the side and he is not comfortable taking the first ball, then obviously I would take the strike.

“With Rohit, it started in the Champions Trophy where I told him to take the strike and that sort of continued as I don’t like to change things much,” he said.

In 133 ODI innings that he has played so far in his career, Dhawan has faced the first ball only on nine occasions, managing just 93 runs at an average of 10.33 and a highest of 34 in these innings. Contrast that to him being the No.2 in terms of batting position — he has totalled 5595 runs in 126 matches, averaging 47.82 and a highest of 143.

With those statistics, it’s actually easy to understand why Dhawan shies away from facing the first ball. 


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