Wednesday 3 September 2014 

Comment - Shikhar Dhawan Back On Track

Shikhar Dhawan gestures at Edgbaston
Runs for Shikhar Dhawan were a huge boost for India as they beat England at Edgbaston
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Team India has finally won a One-Day International series in England after 24 years, also salvaging some pride after facing a series of humiliating defeats in the Test series.

The grand fashion in which India won the fourth ODI at Edgbaston shows that they deserve to be the number one ranked ODI side in the world.

England were put in to bat first by MS Dhoni and their batsmen continued to struggle against spin. In the end, England scored only 206 and India chased down the target in an attacking manner. 

Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan went after the bowling and played some outstanding strokes.  Rahane scored his first ODI century but the huge sigh of relief was seeing Dhawan bat in a free-flowing manner and finish the game off in style.

Dhawan had not been in good form for the past few months. In the Test series he looked vulnerable against the swinging red ball and mostly got out edging it.

When the ODI series started people expected that he would be back in business but he again struggled against the good length ball outside the off stump. In the second ODI he got out caught behind and in the third ODI he was not able to control his cut shot which resulted in a simple catch to the point fielder.

In the fourth ODI Dhawan looked completely different. He took his time and played most of his strokes with a straight bat, controlling his instincts by not playing any rash shot outside the off-stump.

In his innings of 97 he only stroked two boundaries towards the cover and point region; he scored the majority of his runs through the leg-side.

He capitalised on the deliveries that were on the pads and played some wristy flicks which made him feel more comfortable at the crease. The four huge sixes were also hit in the region of mid-wicket and long-on.

Turning Things Round - Shikhar Dhawan's tour of England

Test/first-class matches

v Leicestershire: 60 (100)

v Derbyshire: 6 (26) & 9 (10)

1st Test: 12 (24) & 29 (29)

2nd Test: 7 (11) & 31 (45)

3rd Test: 6 (26) & 37 (65)

ODI/List A matches

v Middlesex: 10 (11)

1st ODI: match abandoned

2nd ODI: 11 (22)

3rd ODI: 16 (23)

4th ODI: 97* (81)

The strategy of playing towards the leg-side worked wonders for him. So, here we saw that a player has to consistently work hard in order to keep level of his game up to the mark otherwise opponents quickly figure out the flaws and attack them.

Dhawan likes to play aggressive cricket and that is how he has made it to the Indian team. It is a delight watching him strike the ball cleanly because his success at the top of the order can set up success for the team.

An opener always needs to be responsible, however. Dhawan does not need to go on the defensive side but he should try taking his time initially and then attack.

Throughout the history of Indian cricket, openers have always done well. In fact every team requires good openers to perform well at international level.

It would be fantastic for India if Dhawan can continue this form until the World Cup. Going in to the World Cup the confidence of an opener should be high.

Rohit Sharma might be back for the ODI series against the West Indies so hopefully he and Dhawan can again team up and do well.

Rahane did well in this match as an opener but it would be better if he continues in the middle order because he brings more solidarity there.

There is one ODI against England still to play and it wouldn't be a bad idea for Dhoni to bat first if he wins the toss.

Batting first will give an opportunity to all the other batsmen like Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu to get things going for them. The fearless approach of the Indian players shows that they would then definitely win this ODI series 4-0.

© Cricket World 2014

Fixtures & Results

9th-13th July: 1st Test, Trent Bridge, Nottingham
India 457 & 391-9 dec. (Binny 78) drew with
England 496 (Root 154no, Anderson 81)
17th-21st July: 2nd Test, Lord's, London
India 295 & 342 (Vijay 95, Jadeja 68) beat
England 319 & 223 (Sharma 7-74) by 95 runs
27th-31st July: 3rd Test, The Ageas Bowl, Southampton
England 569-7 dec. & 205-4 dec. beat
India 330 & 178 (Ali 6-67) by 266 runs
7th-11th August: 4th Test, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
England 367 (Root 77, Buttler 70) beat
India 152 & 166 by an innings & 54 runs
15th-19th August: 5th Test, The Kia Oval, London
England 486 (Root 149no, Cook 79) beat
India 148 & 94 by an innings & 244 runs
25th August: 1st ODI, Bristol
Match abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain
27th August: 2nd ODI, SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff
India 304-6 (Raina 100, Woakes 4-52) beat
England 161 (Jadeja 4-28) by 133 runs (D/L)
30th August: 3rd ODI, Trent Bridge, Nottingham
India 228-4 (Rayudu 64no) beat
England 227 (Cook 44) by six wickets
2nd September: 4th ODI, Edgbaston, Birmingham
India 212-1 (Rahane 106, Dhawan 97no) beat
England 206 (Moeen Ali 67) by nine wickets
5th September: 5th ODI, Headingley, Leeds
England 294-7 (Root 113, Buttler 49) beat
India 253 (Jadeja 87) by 41 runs
7th September: T20I, Edgbaston, Birmingham
England 180-7 (Morgan 71, Hales 40)
India 177-5 (Kohli 66) by three runs