Could Rishi Dhawan be the ‘bowling all-rounder’ that Team India is in search of : Team India is clearly in search of a good bowling all-rounder who would be ideal to bat at No 7 in the batting order.
Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja, Stuart Binny et al have been tried and tested. They have delivered at times but have not shown consistency. Maybe it’s time to look beyond and blood in a youngster, who might, in times to come, be a permanent solution.
Possibly with this idea in mind, the selectors’ had gone ahead and picked up the 25-year old, Rishi Dhawan, in the ODI squad that toured Australia for a series of five ODIs and three T20s in January, 2016..
Rishi has had a reasonably good domestic season this year. In Ranji Trophy 2015-16, representing Himachal Pradesh, he has featured in 8 matches. Batting in 9 innings, remaining unbeaten on 2 occasions, he had scored a total of 307 runs at an average of 43.85 with 114 as his individual best. He also has a century and two half-centuries to his credit.
Bowling in 12 innings, Dhawan has picked up 28 wickets, giving away 33.1 runs per wicket. He has been economical to the extent of giving away 927 runs in 304.1 overs bowled (3.07 per over).
Dhawan has struck and picked up a wicket after every 65.1 deliveries. His best bowling performance has been 6/108 in an innings and 8/166 in a match.
In the shorter format, playing in 7 matches (7 innings – remaining unbeaten on 4 occasions) in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2015, Rishi has scored 302 runs at an average of 100.67 with 117* as his personal best. He also has a century and a half-century to his credit.
In the bowling front, he has picked up 9 wickets at an average of 37.0 with 3/46 as his best. He has an economy rate of 5.98 and has picked up a wicket after every 37.1 deliveries.
Rishi was the leading wicket taker in Ranji Trophy 2013-14 season, with 49 wickets from 16 innings. Contributing with the bat, he had scored 435 runs at an average of 39.54 with 89 as is best. He won the Madhavrao Scindia Award for his performance.
In the 2014-15 season, Rishi had picked up 40 wickets from 13 innings. He also contributed with the bat scoring at an average of 57.40 in 9 innings.
Dhawan, an integral part of Himachal Pradesh batting and bowling, has been consistent over a period of time. The BCCI selectors had also done their bit by including him in the 15-member ODI squad for the Australia tour.
However, his performance in Australia has not been very impressive. Playing in 3 ODIs he scored just 12 runs and picked up a solitary wicket.
In the IPL circuit, after being in the sidelines for two seasons for Mumbai Indians, he was bought by Kings’ XI Punjab in 2013 for Rs 3 crores.
Having featured in 26 games, Rishi has scored 153 runs at an average of 21.85 and had picked up 18 wickets at an economy of 7.86 RPO. In the just concluded season he could play only in 2 games. Definitely his IPL performance is nothing much to write home about.
However, Rishi finds himself picked up in the Indian squad that would be touring Zimbabwe under the stewardship of Mahendra Singh Dhoni for a series of three ODIs and T20Is.
The opposition not being a very strong one as compared to Australia, the youngster should be able to use this golden opportunity to put his ‘best foot forward’.
Team India, being in the transition stage, atleast as far as the limited version of the game is concerned, Dhawan should use all his experience gathered over the years and convert them into meaningful performance/s in the African nation.
Creditable performances would surely go a long way for this youngster to become an integral part of the Indian dressing room atleast in ODIs and T20Is.