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Shikhar Dhawan is akin to a hungry tiger roaring for success © Getty Images

By Sarang Bhalerao

The moustache-twirling southpaw from Delhi seems to have his fashion style sorted out. There is a royal swagger in the way he walks. Talk to him ever, if you will, and what come out are the words that show his focus is always on the game of cricket. Shikhar Dhawan is a rare breed of batsmen who believes in the fearless brand of cricket.

There is no resentment about his moderate past performances, neither is there an anxiety about the future. Dhawan lives in the moment. Even the basic tenet of his batting is based on living in the present moment and that is a striking feature about Dhawan’s game. He has an ice-cool temperament and technique to negotiate any kind of bowling. The positive attitude is his companion who has made him stand in good stead. Against South Africa in Cardiff, after having had a couple of failures in the warm-up matches, Dhawan looked in complete control of the innings. What was interesting to see was his response to the short ball which has been pet-peeve for a lot of young Indian batsmen. Seldom did he sway away from it. He looked at that delivery as a scoring option, unlike many Indians.

The drives through the off-side were sublime. A sense of authority permeated through the hits. They were eye-catching. Those hits sure would have broken the spirits of the bowlers. On his Test debut against Australia earlier this year, he exhibited some of the colossal hits that showed ample courage and determination. The Australian bowlers toiled hard and used every single trick they had in their repertoire but they came second best every single time. The South Africans too discovered the aggressive side of Dhawan. He got runs at a brisk rate, hardly breaking a sweat.

As an Under-19 kid playing in the World Cup in Bangladesh in 2004, Dhawan built his innings with consummate ease. It was similar to the alchemist practicing his art. In the Challenger Series 2013 he had scores of 99 not out, 152 and 61. A couple of hundreds in the Duleep Trophy followed. The innings were easy to the eye and never laboured. The common factor in all the innings is the way he was dictating the terms after getting starts. That transition becomes taxing when every sinew of your body is tested at the international level. Dhawan is beginning to blossom at the highest level by wearying down the bowlers with his blistering strokes, getting on top of the bowlers and at the same time showing a purposeful intent in the middle.

One moment in Cardiff that showed his competitive side was when he was struck on the helmet by Ryan McLaren. The impact took the ball towards square-leg and it rattled Dhawan a little. But that did not break the rhythm in his batting; the next short ball was middled and pulled towards square-leg as if to suggest: let bygones be bygones. That takes a bagful of guts.

Dhawan offers a hope, a belief and promise. As a 27-year-old he has got his due credit a bit late, one would say. Impressive domestic performances have given him confidence. An unsuccessful India stint has helped develop his mental side. It has made Dhawan’s resolve stronger. He is akin to a hungry tiger roaring for success.  India will hope he keeps roaring.

(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)