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'Well-prepared' Dhawan set for Test debut

Last updated on: March 13, 2013 20:52 IST

'Well-prepared' Dhawan set for Test debut

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Shikhar Dhawan says he will be under no pressure when he makes his Test debut against Australia in the third Test at Mohali after having performed well in the domestic season.

Shikhar Dhawan will make his debut as India's 277th player in Test cricket at Mohali on Thursday. For the Delhi left-hander it will be the fulfillment of years of hard work and dedication.

Interestingly, Dhawan himself made the announcement that he would be playing in the third Test against Australia.

"The coach and captain told me about my debut last evening. I was very happy to hear the news that I will be making my debut. I just want to grab this opportunity. I told my family, my wife and children who are in Australia," said Dhawan, on the eve of the match.

The left-hander made it to the Indian team on the back of consistent performances in domestic cricket last season. He registered 461 runs in seven matches, @ 51.22, for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; 309 runs, @ 77.25, with two centuries and a fifty in four innings, for North Zone in the Duleep Trophy; scored 63 for Rest of India in the Irani Cup match against Mumbai and also had a century (110) for Delhi against the touring England team in a warm-up 50-overs' match in Delhi in January.


Image: Shikhar Dhawan

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'I don't have any pressure right now'

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Not surprisingly, he is very confident going into his first match despite the pressure of expectation.

"Not really [feeling the pressure], because I have performed well in domestic cricket. Of course, I was waiting for this day, but I don't have any pressure right now. I am happy that whatever I dreamt of achieving, I have done that," he said.

Dhawan's first sojourn in international cricket was not too long; he got dumped after playing just five ODIs and a T20 match in 2011. But this time the 27-year-old seems extra determined to make the opportunity count and seal a permanent berth in the Test squad.

"Whenever I have experienced failure in my career, those experiences have made me more mature as a player. With time you do get mature."


Image: Shikhar Dhawan
Photographs: Getty Images
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New opening pair

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Dhawan boasts of an impressive first class record -- 5679 runs in 81 matches, at an average of 45.79, and is hoping his experience of nearly nine years in domestic cricket will stand him in good stead.

"In domestic cricket -- whether it is Ranji Trophy or other first class matches – in the first year not many opponents will know about your game, but by the time you are into the third or fourth year, the opponents would have found out your strengths and weaknesses and they will work on it.

"The bowlers will test your patience, especially in the north, where we play on green tops. If you keep performing in these challenging conditions you get that confidence that you are ready for the next level. I feel lucky that I have played for six-seven years in domestic cricket and that fact that I am making my Test debut with that experience, I feel more confident," he said.

India will be fielding a new opening pair when Murali Vijay, who hit a century in the last Test at Hyderabad, walks out to bat with Dhawan in Mohali.

The left-hander will replace his fellow-Delhi teammates Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, who were dropped from the squad recently after failing with the bat.


Image: Coach Duncan Fletcher in conversation with Harbhajan Singh

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'I have had very good preparation'

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Asked how he will deal with comparisons to his predecessors, Dhawan pointed out that he and Vijay need to be given time to prove their worth, because even Gambhir and Sehwag took time to become the accomplished pair that they became later on.

"We don't have the pressure of comparison because Gautambhai and Virenderbhai have played for so many years and have done well for India. But they have achieved whatever they have over a period of time. It doesn't happen overnight. Hopefully, if we perform well over a period of time, we will be regarded as good as them.

"There will be a great comfort factor batting with Vijay. We have played together in the Irani Cup, so that coordination is there between us. We have that understanding between us while running between the wickets. So that would help me in this match," he added.

Dhawan said he is just raring to take the field and get going on over the next few days.

"I am feeling very good. I have had very good preparation; just looking forward to giving my 100 per cent and doing well for the team," he added.


Image: Shikhar Dhawan
Photographs: Getty Images
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