Not taking anything away from Shikhar Dhawan’s creditable show in the cricket World Cup so far, West Indies pace legend Michael Holding feels the left-handed opener is lucky to be surrounded by understanding men, who can play the good mentor’s role.
After going through a lean patch in the tri-series, Dhawan struck form with a gutsy 73 against Pakistan and a strokeful 137 against South Africa to hand two straight wins to table-toppers India in Pool B. Holding said that people like coach Duncan Fletcher, Team Director Ravi Shastri and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni are always a big help for young talents like Dhawan to prosper.
“I think a big positive for people like Shikhar Dhawan is that you have quite a few very understanding people around. The coach Duncan Fletcher; of course Ravi Shastri now who is sort of managing the situation and MS Dhoni. I don’t think those guys are the ones who panic. And they know cricketers, they know the abilities of cricketers and they are quite happy to give them a good run,” Holding, who is analysing the game on ESPNcricinfo’s video show ‘Match Point’, said.
“So things like that will help people like Shikhar Dhawan and anyone else who comes into the team and isn’t an immediate success or has been a success and is going through a bad track,” he added.
If the Indian batsmen helped the team put up 300 plus totals against Pakistan and South Africa then the bowlers ensured the Men in Blue win with big margins. Holding is impressed with Dhoni’s bowling heroes.
“They have been very good. I think they should have pitched them up when South Africa were about 86 runs on their board and about one ball, I think especially to (Hashim) Amla was pitched in line with the stumps. Everything to Amla was outside the off stump. They bowled some nice tidy lines to both the left handers and the right handers, a couple of short balls yes, because they show that they are a better pace, but they bowled brilliantly,” Holding said.
If the A B de Villiers-led side dropped a few crucial catches in Sunday’s game then India inculcated two fine run outs to come out as a better fielding side. Holding is surprised with India’s supremacy on the fielding front, at least against a top side like the Proteas.
“To be honest India in the last, I would say six, seven years have been a much better fielding team than they were 15 years ago. And as I say it’s not very often that any team is said to be better in the field than South Africa,” the cricketer-turned-analyst said.