Shikhar Dhawan turns 32 © Getty Images
Shikhar Dhawan turns 32 © Getty Images

Shikhar Dhawan, born on December 5, 1985, is India’s opening batsman in the post Virender Sehwag-Gautam Gambhir era. Dhawan announced his arrival with a smashing ton on Test debut and since then has established himself in the team. Nishad Pai Vaidya picks nine little known facts about the moustached opener.

1. Sonnet Cricket Club alumni

Dhawan honed his skills under the tutelage of renowned coach Tarak Sinha, since the age of 12. Sonnet Cricket Club is a famous institution where numerous India cricketers have honed their skills, such as Atul Wassan, Manoj Prabhakar, Ashish Nehra, Raman Lamba, Ajay Sharma and Aakash Chopra.

2. Beginning as a wicketkeeper

Dhawan had started as a wicketkeeper, Sinha recalls. He told PTI,Shikhar always had the talent but more than anything had the guts. Not many people know that he was a wicketkeeper when he first came under my guidance. I realized he is special when as a 12 year-old, he scored a hundred in an U-15 school tournament.”

3. Played for the masters before international debut

It is interesting that Dhawan played for India Masters even before he had played for India. In a Tsunami Relief Tournament in Abu Dhabi in May 2005, Dhawan played alongside numerous ex-India players against Pakistan Masters and Sri Lanka Masters. He got blobs in both games, dismissed by Lasith Malinga and Abdul Razzaq.

4. Opening partnership with MS Dhoni

During the Challenger Trophy 2005, Dhawan had opened the batting for India Seniors with MS Dhoni. Back then, Dhawan was only 19 and Dhoni had played three ODIs for India. In one of the matches, both of them smashed centuries, scoring 187 for the first wicket, before Dhoni retired hurt. On his return to the crease, the pair added a further nine runs.

5. Swapped with Ashish Nehra

Dhawan was actually picked for the Delhi Daredevils during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2008. However, before the next season, Delhi swapped him with Ashish Nehra of the Mumbai Indians. Dhawan represented Mumbai in 2009 and 2010.

6. Love for bikes

Dhawan has had a liking for bikes since a very young age. India Today reported that he owned an Enfield. In 2010, he bought himself a swanky Suzuki Hayabusa.

7. Tattoos

Dhawan has numerous tattoos on his body. In an interview with GQ, he said that he has a leafless tree carved on his calf. On one of his triceps he has Carpe Diem quote. He also has plans to get more tattoos done.

8. Nicknames

Dhawan is called jaat-ji by many of his team-mates. He hails from the Jaat community and hence gets the nickname. Also, another popular nickname is Gabbar, the famous villain of the Bollywood flick Sholay. He gets these nicknames due to his typical looks and that twirling moustache.

9. Wife and children

Dhawan is married to Ayesha Mukherjee, an Anglo-Indian amateur boxer with Australian citizenship. Ayesha had two daughters from her former husband. The couple was introduced to each other by Harbhajan Singh through Facebook. Shikhar and Ayesha had a son Zoravar in early 2014.

Shikhar Dhawan: Life and Times in pictures