Ranji Trophy: Himachal hero Rishi Dhawan guns for return to Indian setup

Dhawan was named the BCCI Best All-Rounder of the Year in domestic limited over tournaments, a laurel the seam-bowling all-rounder feels puts him in the reckoning for an India comeback.

Published : Feb 18, 2024 21:37 IST , PUDUCHERRY - 3 MINS READ

FILE PHOTO: Rishi Dhawan in action during Himachal Pradesh’s match in the Ranji Trophy in 2019.
FILE PHOTO: Rishi Dhawan in action during Himachal Pradesh’s match in the Ranji Trophy in 2019. | Photo Credit: AKHILESH KUMAR

FILE PHOTO: Rishi Dhawan in action during Himachal Pradesh’s match in the Ranji Trophy in 2019. | Photo Credit: AKHILESH KUMAR

After performing consistently in the domestic cricket, Himachal Pradesh all-rounder Rishi Dhawan is eyeing a comeback into the Indian team.

This season, Dhawan was the best batter for his team, scoring 440 runs, and picking 19 wickets as well. Commenting on Himachal’s performance this season, where it won only one game in the Ranji Trophy, the senior pro agreed that it didn’t go as expected but said that with youngsters coming up, the team will perform much better in the next season.

He scored 127 runs at a strike rate of 186.76 in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in three innings and remained not out. In the Vijay Hazare Trophy, in three innings, Dhawan scored 95 at a strike rate of 111.

Dhawan, who hails from Mandi district, has been one of best players to play for Himachal. His performance over the past few seasons give a closer look of his consistency. In the last six Ranji Trophy seasons, he has scored 1,942 runs and taken 94 wickets; 1,085 runs and 66 wickets in Vijay Hazare Trophy; and 602 runs and 52 wickets in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophies.

“I try to do well in whichever match I play,” Dhawan told  Sportstar. “I’ve been performing well in the last four to five years. Recently I got the best all-rounder award in limited overs at the BCCI awards (for 2020-21, 2021-22). So, I’m trying to do my best in whichever format I play. Performances are coming so hopefully they’ll pick me in the Indian team soon,” he added. 

The seam-bowling all-rounder made his ODI (in Australia) and T20I (in Zimbabwe) debuts under M.S. Dhoni in 2016 but could only play in one series for each format. Dhawan says he has been in touch with the selectors and is looking for ways to improve himself in both batting and bowling departments. 

Dhawan made his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut in 2013 with Mumbai Indians, and then shifted to Punjab Kings (then Kings XI Punjab). Till 2016, he played 26 IPL games but didn’t make much of an impact. After a lengthy gap, he was once again picked by the Punjab franchise in 2022, but the series of non-impactful performances continued. 

This year he will once again turn up for Punjab and wants to make sure he converts all these performances into a big season for which he will begin practicing now that Himachal’s campaign has ended. 

“Now IPL is coming so I’ll try to convert my performances in the limited overs format in the IPL as well. Aim is to have good performance at a big stage like IPL and create an opportunity for the selectors to look in,” Dhawan said.

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