Shikhar Dhawan scored the fastest-ever Test century on debut in the third Test against Australia in Mohali © PTI
New Delhi: Mar 16, 2013
Shikhar Dhawan might have scored the fastest-ever Test century on debut on Saturday but the former cricket captains of the world believe it has nothing to do with the advent of Twenty20 cricket.
Dhawan created history by scoring the fastest-ever Test ton on debut in the third Test against Australia and was unbeaten on a 168-ball 185 at the end of the third day’s play.
He scored his hundred in only 85 balls, surpassing West Indian Dwayne Smith‘s debut Test ton hit in 93 balls against South Africa back in 2004. England’s Matt Prior hit a century on debut against West Indies off 105 balls.
“When I saw the list of the Indian players who had got fastest hundreds, I found Kapil Dev, Mohammad Azharuddin, Virender Sehwag in the list, so all these scores happened before Twenty20 cricket had started,” said former India captain Rahul Dravid.
“It is not that players weren’t playing positively before the coming of T20 cricket but it is just that more and more players are playing like that (fast) these days. That is what is changing. Some of the positions Dhawan got into to play his shots need good technique,” he added.
Another ex-India skipper, Sourav Ganguly agreed with his former teammate, saying, “Lots of players have scored hundreds on debut but what stood out for me is the way he batted, and that has nothing to do with Twenty20 cricket. Dhawan has the ability and the technique, which will help him adapt to all forms of cricket.”
Former West Indies captain Brian Lara also denied that Dhawan’s experience of T20 cricket is the reason for his fastest ton today but said that scoring at such a pace was not possible 20-30 years back.
“There might be some relation to the fact that Dhawan has played T20 cricket because 20-30 years ago, no one would have dreamt about such a thing,” said Lara.
Former Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga said he was worried that more and more youngsters today are keen on hitting big shots than learning the technique.
“The problem is more and more youngsters today want to play shots and not concentrate on the technique which is very worrying,” he said.
“For me T20 is entertainment but Test cricket is education,” said Ranatunga during a panel discussion on ‘The changing face of world cricket’ at India Today conclave here.
Asked if the Indian Premier League is to blamed for developing such mindset in youngsters, Ganguly defended the twenty20 tournament saying it gives a budding cricketer instant recognition.
“What IPL does is it gives you recognition. It creates a platform…if someone scores runs against the best bowlers in the world, the selectors are compelled to sit up and take notice. IPL gives you the kind of visibility, which is not possible in domestic cricket,” explained Ganguly.
“There have been so many cricketers who had scores tons and tons of runs in domestic cricket like Rajinder Goel, Padmakar Shivalkar, Raman Lamba, Brijesh Batel but could never get any recognition but thats not the case with the IPL.”
Lara said that for West Indies cricketers who hardly get good infrastructure in their country, tournaments like IPL gives them a great platform.
“There is hardly any infrastructure in the West Indies and playing in T20 leagues give them opportunity to play around the world.”
Asked if Australia was justified in sacking four of their players for not preparing their assignments, the former skippers expressed different opinions.
While Brian Lara insisted that sacking was not the right thing to do, Ranatunga was all praise for the Aussies.
“While I agree that a player must always participate in assignments given to him by the team management, but as a captain I could have handled it differently…away from the scene. I would have spoken to those players separately. I would have dealt with them in-house and put the best team forward,” said Lara.
Applauding the Australian team management for taking a strong step, Ranatunga said: “They handled it very well. I always feel discipline has to be maintained. You are given a job and paid for that. If you don’t do that you are out of the team.
“The way the Aussies handled it, the youngsters would not do such things again,” stressed the former Sri Lanka captain.
Former India cricket selector Mohinder Amarnath had created a controversy a few months back, saying that the BCCI president N Srinivasan overruled the “unanimous” decision to replace MS Dhoni as captain after India’s eight consecutive overseas Test defeats.
Although Amarnath did not say it in as many words that Srinivasan, whose company owns the Chennai Super Kings team in IPL led by Dhoni, was the reason for his decision but it was pretty much evident.
Asked if it was right on the part of a franchise owner, who is also the BCCI president, to do something like that, the Indian captains dogged the question.
“I would say that faith has been shown not to Dhoni but also to coach Duncan Fletcher. So the BCCI has maintained the same yardstick when it came to giving chance to those who haven’t performed up to the mark,” said Ganguly.
But both Ranatunga and Lara insisted that the “country should come first and not the club”.
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