The moment he has lived for has finally arrived. A Test debut in the company of Sachin Tendulkar has been Shikhar Dhawan’s long-nurtured dream.

When he walks out with Murali Vijay to open the Indian innings in the third Test against Australia here, the Delhi left-hander would have taken a huge step forward in living up to the promise he had shown as a junior cricketer.

Good understanding

“There will be a great comfort factor batting with Vijay. We have played together in the Irani Cup, so there will be co-ordination between us.

“We have a good understanding while running between the wickets and that will help me during the Test,” said Dhawan.

He was told about his impending debut on Tuesday evening by coach Duncan Fletcher and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Consistent

Consistency in domestic cricket paved the way for Dhawan’s elevation to the Indian team. About the journey, he said: “In domestic cricket, whether it is Ranji or the other first class matches, not many opponents would know about your game in the first year.

“By the time you are into the third or fourth year, the opponents would have found out your strengths and weaknesses, and will work on it.

“Bowlers will test your patience, especially in the North where we play on green tops. If you keep performing in these challenging conditions, you get the confidence that you are ready for the next level.”

Pace, their strength

His assessment of the Australian attack? “Their fast bowlers have always been good. Even if there is no (James) Pattinson, there will be someone who can step up for them.

“Pace has always been their strength. We have to play good cricket irrespective of what kind of attack we are up against. That’s what I believe in.”

Dhawan (27) confessed that he was still learning. “Whenever I have experienced failure, those experiences have made me more mature as a player. With time you do get mature,” he said.

He added that he had learnt from watching the seniors, especially Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. Ironically, he has found a place in the team at their cost.

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