"I had my moments of nervousness"
The way he went about decimating the Australian attack in the third Test here on Saturday, Shikhar Dhwan very much looked like a man in great hurry, but the India debutant said he was a bundle of ‘nerves’ while approaching milestones in his mesmerising knock.
The left-handed batsman rewrote one record after another, before proclaiming that he ‘belongs’ to the big league.
Dhawan announced his arrival on the Test arena with a blistering 168-ball 185 - the fastest by a debutant in the history of Test cricket, giving India a toehold in the penultimate match of the series. He also breezed past Gundappa Vishwanath’s record of highest Indian scorer on debut.
“You couldn’t feel it, but I was really nervous as I approached my fifty and century,” Dhawan told reporters after the end of the third day’s play, with India sitting pretty at 283 for no loss in reply to Australia’s 408.
Asked if he feels he belongs to the league, the 27-year-old Dhawan, though somewhat repeated the line on a lighter note.
“I was not in a hurry, the fours were just coming, the shot selection was good and I was in flow,” Dhawan, who had started his first-class career nine years ago, said.
“I have been working hard since being dropped from the Indian team I have changed myself, I was waiting for a chance. I am happy that I grabbed it with both hands. I am feeling good, I thank God, it has always been a dream to score runs on debut,” he said.
The Delhi boy was quick to thank his half Bengali, half British wife, who is settled in Australia.
“I have got an Australian wife who lives in Melbourne with two daughters. I thank my wife and kids, they were praying. I spoke to my wife and it was a very emotional for her,” he answered when queried by an Australian scribe.
“Sachin paaji told me to be gutsy”
After signalling his arrival in Test cricket with a bang, debutant Dhawan said it was a “great moment” to receive his maiden cap from Sachin Tendulkar, who told him to be as ‘gutsy’ in international cricket as he has been in the domestic circuit.
“It was a great moment to get the Test cap form Sachin paaji. I have watched him since I was a kid, it was a dream come true,” Dhawan told reporters after his record-breaking feat.
Asked if Tendulkar had an advice for the 27-year-old batsman from Delhi, Dhawan said, “He told me ‘we have known you as a very gutsy player in domestic cricket, now we hope to see you as a gutsy player in international cricket, so show us some guts’”
Dhawan breezed past Gundappa Vishwanath’s record of being the highest Indian scorer on debut, and also the first Indian opener to score a century on debut.