© Getty Images
Shikhar Dhawan has played Tests in South Africa, New Zealand, England, and now in Australia © Getty Images

Shikhar Dhawan has been accused to having a shaky technique and an inability to perform overseas. While he failed to score big in the first Test at Adelaide, he seemed to be in control of things. Shiamak Unwalla feels the second Test at Brisbane will be Dhawan’s best chance of turning things around.

Shikhar Dhawan owes his career to Australia; had it not been for his mind-boggling 187 on debut, he would perhaps not have made it to India’s One-Day International (ODI) team, and would most likely not have been a part of the Test side. Since that innings Dhawan has scored just one century and a half-century in 10 more games.

Dhawan has played Tests in South Africa, New Zealand, England, and now in Australia. While he has shown the ability to stick it out and bat for long periods in New Zealand — he had back-to-back scores of 115 and 98 at Auckland and Wellington — he failed to cross 37 in the others. He had a torrid time in South Africa, and struggled to put bat to ball in England.

However, in the first Test at Adelaide Oval, Dhawan did not seem out of his depth; on the contrary, he attacked Mitchell Johnson quite effectively in the first innings, and came out with a positive mindset in the second innings as well till a dubious decision cut short his time in the middle. Though he only scored 34 in the Test, he did so at a strike rate north of 100 and seemed intent on dominating the bowlers on both occasions.

These are encouraging signs; Dhawan seems to be keen on performing a role that is better suited to him. In India’s last three overseas tours, Dhawan has looked completely out of sorts because he has not been playing his natural game, which is to dominate. As a result he has poked and prodded along without conviction. At Adelaide, he reverted to his attacking game and though he did not score too many, for the first time on an overseas tour he looked assured and convincing.

The Gabba will probably be the fastest pitch India play on this series, and as such it is unlikely to produce too many high scores. But if Dhawan can start dominating early, even a quick 50 or 60 will go a long way in setting India up.

Dhawan would do well to take inspiration from Sourav Ganguly — another player who was notorious for being susceptible to quality pace and bounce — whose memorable 144 on a lively pitch at The Gabba in India’s first Test in 2003-04 set the tone for a remarkable series.  If Dhawan manages to do well at The Gabba, he will silence the critics who have been questioning his place in the Test side.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and cricket fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @ShiamakUnwalla)