India leave for South Africa with another one-day series win under their belt. Once again, their batting powered the way, and Shikhar Dhawan, who had missed out in the first two games, made up with a brilliant century that took the team home.
The transformation of Dhawan from a player of pretty cameos to a big hundred batsman is fascinating and it is an example for all those who have been in the Indian team and have then lost their places. Dhawan realised that he had all the shots in the book, but at the international level, it pays to put some away in cold storage till one is fully set and well past the first hour or so.
By then the batsman is moving well, the ball has lost some of its shine and hardness, and the bowlers also are tiring a bit. Once that happens, the loose deliveries come along and can be taken toll of. That is one of the biggest advantages of being an opening batsman in limited overs cricket. There is some time to play yourself in and then expand the range of shots that you possess.
The trick about batting is to know your strengths and then capitalise on them. It is also important to know which shots you can play and which you should avoid. Dhawan has done that and is now aware of his strengths and is therefore able to give himself some breathing time before unleashing the range of his shots.
Yuvraj too did the smart thing by looking for ones and twos and spend valuable time out in the middle. He was not at his fluent best, but the time that he spent in the middle will stand him in good stead in South Africa. Suresh Raina too did the same, and both the batsmen were fortunate that they had Dhawan batting at the other end, and who was blasting away so they were not under any pressure to try aggressive shots.
The bowling of Shami was encouraging again. As soon as he realised that slower delivery was not quite working, he resorted to the yorkers that he bowls so well and kept the batsman down to ones and twos. Like batting, it does take a little time to realise one’s strengths in bowling, and Ashwin is doing that and gets better every game that he plays. Like all cricketers, he will have the odd bad day, but importantly he will take something from that and prepare better for the future.
The easy part is over; now comes the tough part. Once more, the guys who adjust quickly will fare better than those who do not.
Professional Management Group