At the start of the year, the Delhi and SunRisers Hyderabad batsman was something of a has-been at international level. His six internationals had brought him a half-century in a victory over the West Indies, but only 24 more runs besides. His A-team tour to the West Indies had been far from fruitful, but the selectors were looking for replacements for Gambhir and Sehwag at the top of the order. It was Dhawan who they called.
He responded by producing arguably the most shocking and brazen innings in Test cricket's long history. In the third Test against Australia, India (including debutant Dhawan) had spent a day and a half chasing leather in the field while Australia accumulated 408 and put themselves into a comfortable position in the game, a position that, with the first day lost, they should not lose from. Dhawan was the first to fall in the Indian innings, but not before he had made hay. In just 58 overs of Test cricket, he had reached a breathtaking 185 not out at stumps. He fell early the next morning and the opening stand had soared to 289. The Indians eventually won the Test in the final hour of play on the last day.
Shikhar Dhawan is at home at the top of the Indian order.
Fairytales don't last forever, and scores of 48, 68 and 31 are, while far from modest, distinctly more mortal. Of course, there is the interesting factoid that the 31 was his first innings since his comeback that was not India's top-score. Is this a record? I suppose I'd better post that question to Ask Steven and hope for an answer - I'm no whiz with Statsguru.
Shikhar Dhawan is a reminder that just because you get knocked back, or aren't instantly successful, it doesn't mean you aren't good enough. He also shows that however good your talent is, you still have to work on the damn thing if you want to nurture it to find success. And he has a moustache; soon, so will every man in India.