IPL ammo for jawan Dhawan

Rishi Dhawan, the promising all-rounder from Himachal Pradesh, ignored by the national selectors, has reasons to smile now after being bid for a princely sum of Rs. 3 crores in the recent IPL auction. J.R. Shridharan focusses on the issue.

“When God shuts one door, he opens another.” This famous one-liner suits the 23-year-old all rounder Rishi Dhawan from Himachal Pradesh like a glove.

The lad from Mandi, a non-descript town in the hill-State, took the wind out of the sails of several Ranji teams by scalping as many as 49 wickets and topping the bowlers’ tally in the last edition of the championship that concluded recently.

He was able to draw the attention of many (but not the selectors) with his three-in-one act as a bowler, lower-order batsman and skipper. His six five-wicket hauls did prove his innate perseverance and his knack of bowling on different surfaces productively.

Much to his disappointment and that of his team-mates, Rishi was ignored for the New Zealand tour and later he did not figure in the Rest of India and Twenty-20 World Cup squads.

But the auction to the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League brought the smile back on his face for he was picked, after a keen bidding tussle between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, for a princely sum of Rs. 3 crores by the Preity Zinta-owned outfit.

For the youngster who was not in the ‘scheme of things’ of the national selectors, the eagerness showed by the franchisees for his ability was truly gratifying. And the amount he got was well beyond the imagination of a small town cricketer.

“I was a bit tense when the auction started. I am happy the way things happened. I will make use of the IPL platform to win the trust of the selectors,” says Rishi, who played for the Mumbai Indians in the last edition.

Says Delhi’s erstwhile crisis-man Bhaskar Pillai: “You strike only when the iron is hot. Talented players should be selected when they are at their peak. Overlooking proven players will put them in a dilemma and they (players) will begin to doubt their abilities.”

Bhaskar feels that the IPL happened at the right time for Rishi thus helping him to get back to the competitive mood. “He should make use of every opportunity to prove a point to the selectors that his demonstration of talent was not a flash in the pan.”

Bhaskar, a former domestic run-machine, also feels that after Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar, India is yet to produce a quality all-rounder. “Rishi fits the bill perfectly. This season, apart from skippering the team admirably, he scored 450-odd runs that included five fifties. This proves the talent of the lad.”

Surendra Bhave, Maharashtra coach and the man responsible for his team’s dream run in the Ranji Trophy, feels that Rishi is not in the radar of the selectors right now. “Probably the selectors want to give a chance to those on whom they had already formed opinions. It is not the end of the road for Rishi. After all he has proved his abilities and he should perform consistently.”

Bhave seconded the opinion of Bhaskar Pillai on Rishi developing as a quality all-rounder. “His forte is swing and he has the knack of swinging the ball on both sides. It is the responsibility of the all those close to him to reinvigorate his morale and help him continue his cricketing journey in the right frame of mind.”

Rishi is all buoyed up and thinks that the coming IPL will be a learning curve for him. “I can master the intricacies of the game with my interaction with the best of players in the Kings XI Punjab team. I want to give my cent per cent and be a utility man for the team,” he concludes.