and kids. A query regarding his career turnaround was thrown in too. Was it mental or was it technical, they wanted to know. “I just smile a lot more,” he said, smiling to drive home the point. Finally, there was talk of some cricket. When, the questioner posed, did he and India believe that they would chase 360 and end up achieving the second highest ODI run chase of all time? Dhawan replied such. “The moment I put my batting gear on and left the dressing room.” This, coming from a man who is about to play just his fourth ODI in India.
Confidence, then, has been the key factor to the best comeback story of this year’s cricket calendar. At the Sawai Mansingh in Jaipur on Wednesday, that confidence in self helped Dhawan to refocus after he was jolted with a 154 kmph bouncer by Mitchell Johnson in the penultimate ball off the third over, one that fizzed past his squared-up left shoulder. That confidence in his ability made Dhawan swipe across his neck and maul Johnson’s following perfume ball past the midwicket fence.
Bat doing talking
He struck 13 more of those to score 95. By the time he was dismissed in the 27th over, India had scored a touch below half their target for the opening wicket — 176 runs. But it wasn’t so much the runs scored by him that deflated the Aussies as much as the manner in which they came.
A couple of overs before he was dismissed, the 25th, Shane Watson came around the wicket to Dhawan, attempting to choke his off side hits. The first ball pitched on middle and cut into the batsman. But a sure-footed Dhawan had skipped down the track and made enough room to drive just inches wide of the man at covers. The fielder moved only to retrieve the ball.
Next delivery, Watson drifted towards the off stump. Dhawan pressed back and cut it past the man at point for four more. Watson wasn’t