Who is Shikhar Dhawan?
Shikhar Dhawan is an Indian international cricketer and a left-handed opening batsman. He plays for Delhi in domestic cricket and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL (Indian Premier League). He previously played for Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians teams in the IPL. He came to limelight after scoring a record 505 runs from a single tournament in the 2004 Under-19 World Cup, but had to wait for his national debut because of the over-crowded line of successful openers in the Indian team such as Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. He witnessed the blooming career of his opening pair from Challenger Trophy 2005, MS Dhoni, as well as younger Delhi batsman Virat Kohli, before he got his national cap at the age of 27. However, he utilized his experience from domestic cricket fully to establish himself as a run-machine and has cemented his position as an opener in the Indian team. He has recently been named the vice-captain of the Indian T20I team for the Tri-Series in Sri Lanka.
Childhood & Early Life
Shikhar Dhawan was born on December 5, 1985, in Delhi, India into the Punjabi Khatri family of Sunaina and Mahendra Pal Dhawan. He has a younger sister named Shreshta who recently got married in November 2017.
At the age of 12, he was coaxed by his uncle to attend the prestigious Sonnet Club to train cricket under famous coach Tarak Sinha. Never afraid to rub shoulders with big boys, he immediately impressed his coach by scoring a century for the U-15 team in a school tournament.
He attended St. Marks Senior Secondary Public School in Paschim Vihar, Delhi. He had to discontinue his studies after completing 12th grade to focus on his cricket career.
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Shikhar Dhawan began playing for Delhi Under-16s in the 1999-2000 Vijay Merchant Trophy, and in the following season, took his team to the finals as the leading run-scorer. He was subsequently selected to play for North Zone Under-16s squad and at the age of 15, secured a place in the Delhi Under-19 team.
He continued to perform consistently in every tournament, but garnered most attention for scoring 505 runs at an average of 84.16, with three centuries and a fifty, in the 2004 Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh. However, despite fabulous performance, his national debut was delayed due to the fact that the Indian team already had a successful opening pair in Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.
He made his first-class debut for Delhi against Andhra in November 2004 in Ranji Trophy, followed by List A debut against Jammu & Kashmir in January 2005 in the Ranji One-day Trophy. Despite a few ups and downs, he showed consistency by making it into the lead-scorers list in a number of tournaments and helped Delhi win the 2007–08 season of Ranji Trophy.
His form declined in late 2010 when he failed to utilize his ODI debut opportunity and subsequently struggled to perform in Duleep Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Deodhar Trophy. However, during the 2012-13 season, he showed sublime form in the Challenger Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Ranji Trophy, and scored a century as the Delhi captain for a List-A match against the touring England team.
Shikhar Dhawan was selected into the national senior team for the first time in October 2010 for a three-match ODI series against Australia, and got out for a second-ball duck in his debut match. He was next selected to play in limited-over matches in India’s tour of West Indies in June 2011, during which he made his T20I debut, but once again failed to perform except for one half-century.
Following his splendid form in domestic cricket, he was called to the Indian Test squad in February 2013 for the four-match series against Australia and received his Test cap from Sachin Tendulkar on March 14, 2013. He made a massive 187 runs with 283 opening partnership with Murali Vijay on his debut and broke Gundappa Viswanath’s record of fastest century on debut, but he also sustained an injury.
Upon recovery, he showed good form in IPL and was selected for the ODI squad for the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, during which he formed a successful opening pair with Rohit Sharma. He scored his first and second ODI hundreds in the first two matches of the tournament and was awarded the Golden Bat for scoring 363 runs.
After moderate performance in the tri-series against West Indies and Sri Lanka, he put up big scores in the following series against Zimbabwe, Australia and West Indies. He built two massive partnerships against Australia to successfully chase down 350-plus totals twice.
He struggled to perform during India's tour of South Africa in December 2013 and New Zealand in January 2014, but somewhat recovered in the 2014 Asia Cup, which India exited early on. However, he performed poorly in the Test series against England, and despite good show in the ODI series against Sri Lanka, again failed to utilize his opportunity in the 2014 Border-Gavaskar Test series in Australia.
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He had a good start in the 2015 World Cup, scoring two centuries including a career-high score of 137, which helped him return to the Test side. He made back-to-back away match centuries against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to join the ranks of Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid.
After an injury kept him out for a long time, he made a successful comeback for the 2017 Champions Trophy riding on his domestic performance and again bagged the Golden Bat for scoring most runs. He made two centuries against Sri Lanka in the Test series in September 2017.
Shikhar Dhawan's performance in the early editions of the tournament was below par, and he had to change teams from Delhi Daredevils to Mumbai Indians to Sunrisers Hyderabad finally in 2013. Since then, he has led the team to playoffs twice in 2016 and 2017, winning the title once in 2016.
Awards & Achievements
Shikhar Dhawan's 187 against Australia in 2013 is the Fastest Test Century by a Debutant. That season, he was named the 'CEAT International Player of the Year' and was included in the 'ICC World ODI XI'.
He is the only player to get 2 consecutive Golden Bats at ICC Champions Trophy.
He is the fifth-quickest batsman to reach 4000 runs in ODIs
Personal Life & Legacy
Shikhar Dhawan was introduced to his future wife, Melbourne-based professional kick-boxer Ayesha Mukherjee, by Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh via Facebook. Due to his 10-year age gap with the half-Bengali-half British woman, her previous marriage to an Australian businessman, and her two daughters from her first marriage, his parents were initially against the union.
The two got engaged in 2009 after his parents accepted their relationship, but he wanted to establish himself before tying the knot. They finally got married on October 30, 2012 and welcomed a son named Zoravar in early 2014.
Shikhar Dhawan started out as a wicket-keeper when he first joined Sonnet Club, but coach Tarak Sinha identified his batting ability and trained him as an opener.