Posted On Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 09:46:00 AM
There is a net ball court just beyond the midwicket boundary at the small LC de Villiers Oval which was a bruising witness to Shikhar Dhawan’s destructive double ton at Pretoria yesterday.
At least one car, parked at that court complex, was dented by one of his seven mammoth sixes even as hip-hop mix streamed out from the India A dressing room.
Small ground, a flat track, hip hop music all suggest a gentle relaxing day at cricket but Sipokazi Sokanyile, a young media officer with Cricket South Africa, hadn’t seen such a ferocious assault in her life before.
Through the knock, she tweeted her gasps, her luck that she didn’t park her car there and pictures of an almost serene Dhawan creating mayhem. It was one of those knocks which automatically lends itself to ‘I was there’ narratives and Sipokazi was obviously thrilled to be there.
“The first thing I noticed was how not only that particular car was moved away, but all the rest of the vehicles there were immediately shifted away,” she laughs down the wire. “It’s a pretty small ground, much smaller than the Centurion one, just to give you a comparison.
And it’s a very flat track. It’s used for club cricket, and occasionally for tournaments like this, but don’t think it has seen such a consistently ferocious hitting before.”
A 248 from just 150 deliveries, with 30 fours and 7 sixes, should have seen some brutal slogs but Sokanyile is stunned by how so many of those shots were of “proper cricketing” variety.
“He started off by punching and driving and only at the end, he started to try heaving them away.” It must have startled the locals present at the university campus ground but it fits perfectly with the crazy year of 2013 that Dhawan has had so far.
Has anyone who has been dropped after looking pretty ordinary in the few chances he got stormed back in such a spectacular way? He was just 21 runs short beating the List Arecord set by Alistair Brown’s 268 for Surrey against Glamorgan at Oval back in 2002.
In fact, Dhawan’s career should have just run like that of Brown’s. Talented enough to come up with knocks like this in List A or first-class but somehow he has managed to bridge the gap, at least for now, between domestic and international.
The next series in South Africa will tell the real story but boy what a year he has had, winning over critics to his side in some style.
Yesterday, he went past Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, who had scored double tons in ODIs before and just when it looked like he would put Brown’s record too in the shade, he fell, edging to the wicketkeeper Dane Vilas off Rusty Theron’s bowling. (As an aside, Vilas had played the role of Allan Donald in the movie based on Hansie Cronje’s life.) Dhawan had added 285 runs in just 33.5 overs with his captain Cheteshwar Pujara, who also scored a ton.
He galloped to 200 off 132 deliveries, the second hundred coming in just 46 balls. No wonder then, that the likes of Sokanyile were taking cover beyond the boundary. She even got a bizarre request from a Dhawan fan.
‘Can she run down to the boundary line and take a picture of his hands please?‘Actually, astrologers around the country would cherish that opportunity. May be the lines in his palms can explain the year of 2013 for us.
India: 433 for three in 50 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 248, Cheteshwar Pujara 109 not out; Beuran Hendricks 1/62,Rusty Theron 1/98).