Rishi Dhawan hopes improved performance brings India call-up

The all-rounder turned out for India in three ODIs against Australia and one T20I against Zimbabwe in 2016, on the back of two outstanding Ranji seasons between 2013 and 2015.

Rishi Dhawan has already accumulated 187 runs, including two half-centuries, and picked 13 wickets as Himachal, in back-to-back away matches, has felled mighty Tamil Nadu and secured the first-innings lead versus Karnataka.   -  N. SUDARSHAN

In Himachal Pradesh’s fine start to the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy, Rishi Dhawan’s has been a stellar role. The 28-year-old all-rounder has already accumulated 187 runs, including two half-centuries, and picked 13 wickets as Himachal, in back-to-back away matches, has felled mighty Tamil Nadu and secured the first-innings lead versus Karnataka.

“It’s a good performance,” said Dhawan about his exploits against Karnataka, during which he scored 93 runs and claimed eight wickets. “I wouldn’t rate it very high. But it was good for the team.”

Such a modest view perhaps stems from the fact that Dhawan sees himself a player of even higher calibre. He after all turned out for India in three ODIs against Australia and one T20I against Zimbabwe in 2016, on the back of two outstanding Ranji seasons between 2013 and 2015 where he snapped up 89 wickets in total.

Raring to go

While his international sojourn didn’t go well (13 runs and two wickets) and his subsequent Ranji seasons haven’t been as spectacular, the motivation to feature at the highest levels still runs high.

“I feel more ready now,” Dhawan said. “I played a couple of [international] games and was sent back. It takes time to get a hang of that level. I have worked on my bowling and have also improved my batting. I have done well in every situation. I hope that I will get an opportunity again.”

“I think I should have played more India-A tours, Duleep Trophy and Deodhar Trophy matches. Once you have played at the international level, you should get opportunities to perform at the domestic level. After the Zimbabwe game, I haven’t played any high level cricket.”

Himachal’s status of not being among the big domestic teams was no deterrent, Dhawan felt. “Nowadays I don’t think that is the case. Every match counts. If you perform well, it will be noticed. I am confident that I am doing well and I hope to get picked.”

“As a team we have been doing well of late,” he added. “Last season we nearly qualified [for quarterfinals] but lost out to Kerala in the last match. We have a lot of very good youngsters. We are now on a level terms with other teams and we hope to qualify this year.”

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