Mumbai: Aug 15, 2013
If you were left speechless reading about Shikhar Dhawan’s whirlwind knock of 248 against South Africa ‘A’ on Monday, imagine its impact on those who watched it live.
“Master class”, is how the India ‘A’ coach Lalchand Rajput described the Delhi batsman’s 194-minute and 150-ball knock.
Rajput told dna from Pretoria that he has hardly seen this kind of batting in one dayers. To put the coach’s statement in perspective it must be said that he was India’s coach during the World T20 in 2007 when Yuvraj Singh scored six sixes in an over off England’s Stuart Broad.
“One of the best innings, I have never seen something like this,” Rajput said on Tuesday. “Only greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag have crossed the double hundred barrier and now its Dhawan. It is fantastic,” he said.
The former Indian Test cricketer said he had confidence in Dhawan, especially the way he has been playing off late.
“He played some fantastic and proper cricketing shots. The South Africans did not have any answer to his assault. Thirty boundaries and seven sixes! He butchered them so badly that they were helpless,” added Rajput.
So how did the Delhi dasher react after returning to the pavilion — 20 short of the world record held by England’s veteran batsman Alistair Brown?
“He was obviously tired after a long stay but was happy to have scored 200. Dhawan did not know that the record is 268. He played his own game. He said that he could have scored 300 and always thought Sehwag’s 219 was the highest score and Tendulkar’s 200 second highest,” said Rajput.
Rajput, however, is confident that Dhawan has the ability to score 300 in ODIs. “See any score is possible. Even 400 is not safe now, if you look at the trend. I think with the way Dhawan bats and the talent he has, he has the ability to score 300.”
He is also proud of the fact that he witnessed a knock that many may not get to see. “I have seen Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes as a coach and some of the best innings from Sehwag. Now I am fortunate to have seen Dhawan’s breathtaking knock. A batting of master class against one of the best attacks,” he added.
Rajput said he believes that with players like Dhawan, India’s future is secure. “Dhawan has been performing extremely well for the last couple of months whether its Test cricket, Champions Trophy or against Zimbabwe. He has carried the form where ever he has gone.
The way our youngsters have performed, it is really great. They are our future players and it is safe hands.”
Rajput also had a few encouraging words for Ishwar Pandey, who took four wickets. “He took four wickets and was bowling yorkers consistently.”
(Taus Rizvi is a Principal Correspondent with DNA. A club-level cricketer, he believes cricket helps in knowing a person’s character. Taus can be followed on @rizvitaus on Twitter. The above news has been republished with permission from DNA, where it first appeared)