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Shikhar Dhawan: An asset for India?
Shikhar Dhawan won the Man of the Match in his Test debut for a scintillating performance of 187 runs which helped India wrap up the series, 3-0. The fourth and the final Test match is scheduled to take place in Delhi. Dhawan would try to come up with a similar performance in his home ground, Feroz Shah Kotla as well.

Is the player here to stay as a regular member of the Indian team, Ajit Wadekar, a former Indian cricketer, said: “He has played enough domestic cricket. He will aim to stay with the Indian team for as long as possible.” On similar lines, a cricket fan, Sorabh Manocha said, “I believe he has the potential to play for India in the long run.”

The left hander was brought into the squad after impressive performances in domestic cricket. Still, it was difficult for him to make to the starting eleven with players such as Virender Sehwag and Murli Vijay opening the innings against Australia in the first two Test matches. He only got a chance when Sehwag was left out of the squad for the last two Test matches. It was an opportunity, which Dhawan needed to grab with both hands and he did exactly that with one of the best centuries by a debutant.

“The player has scored lots of runs in domestic cricket. He could also have played for India earlier only, but there was a huge competition for the opening slot with players such as Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir,” said Wadekar.

Manocha said, “At the present moment, he can take Sehwag's place. He can be used as a backup, when players are dropped or injured.” But with such quality innings, the bench players will uproot senior under-performing players. His first class record till date is 5679 runs in 81 matches with an average of 45.79. This speaks volumes about the consistency of the player.

He has kick-started his Test match career in the best manner possible, but he needs to maintain such kind of quality as it is for the opening slot that India has an embarrassment of richness. His real test would lie against the South Africans later in the year, when India tour the country, where pitches provide huge bounce to seamers, making life difficult for batsmen. The former manager of the Indian team, Wadekar feels that the player will be a success in South Africa as well. “In the current scenario, he looks to be a very comfortable player playing under any conditions and under any bowling attack,” he said.

It was his positive approach of dealing with the Australian bowlers – going down the track to Peter Siddle and the spinners as well, which caught everyone's eye. What impressed Manocha in his debut innings was “his freedom of playing shots, going for the ball, which should be hit.” Wadekar also followed on the same lines, where he said, “He is absolutely a talented player. Most importantly he likes to go after the bowlers, like Virender Sehwag.”

But Wadekar has a word of caution for Dhawan. “Dhawan is full of confidence after playing such an innings on debut – that too against the Aussies. Hope this confidence does not turn into over-confidence,” Wadekar cautioned.

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