After making a sizzling comeback to ODI cricket at the Champions Trophy, Shikhar Dhawan has made a comeback to the Test squad for the ongoing series against Sri Lanka. His journey to solidify his position as India’s first choice opener in all the formats took another positive step with a Man of the Match performance in the recently concluded first Test in Galle.
Prior to this match, Dhawan last played a Test against New Zealand at Kolkata in 2016: India had played 12 times in the longer format since. His return to ODI cricket has been fantastic. In the ten ODIs since his return, the Delhi batsman has scored 499 runs at an average of 49.90 with a hundred and four fifties. When the Champions Trophy squad was announced, there was unrest amongst fans over how he could be selected ahead of veteran opener Gautam Gambhir given Gambhir’s consistent domestic and IPL form. He has well and truly silenced all those cries with his consistent run.
With injuries to KL Rahul and Murali Vijay for the opening Test, the 31-year old was presented with a golden opportunity. It will be safe to say that he more than made the most of that opportunity. A 168-ball 190 in the first innings studded with 31 boundaries decimated the Sri Lankan attack, the best part about the innings was he attacked without actually playing any risky shots barring one dropped chance when he was on 31. Dhawan became only the third batsman, after Sir Donald Bradman and Virender Sehwag, to score 100 runs in a single session on two occasions. Dhawan accumulated 126 runs in the second session on day one against the Lankans. His 126 came off just 90 balls.
This innings put India firmly in the driver’s seat and propelled them to 600 in the first innings. With a good comeback in ODI cricket and staking a claim to become the first choice opener, such a dominating performance can only fuel his comeback trail. With Rahul expected to be fit for the next test and Vijay nursing an injury and expected to make a comeback soon in the near future, Dhawan knows he needs to keep performing to the best of his abilities to be the first choice in the eyes of the selectors for the nest games and tours.
Shikhar Dhawan once looked like he was going to have to stand at the back of the line to play for the national team after a battle with poor form and a wanting technique, he has proven to one and all that he is still hungry to impress and perform at the highest level. His comeback trail is reaching new heights with every passing game. He is on the road to reclaiming his throne at the top of the order, which he first took after a blazing 2013 Champions Trophy campaign.