What is common to Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Shahid Afridi, Yuvraj Singh, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Tim Southee, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan? Well, they have all ‘borrowed’ fame from their teammates.
With a staggering average of 90.75 in the Champions Trophy, Dhawan has allowed his bat to do all the talking. Ironically, all these runs came with the bat of Murali Vijay - the opener relegated to the bench as Dhawan and Rohit Sharma became a hit at the top of the Indian innings.
Dhawan first felt Vijay’s bat in his hand two days before the Mohali Test against Australia and liked its balance.
“Shikhar uses a 1200gm bat but he basically goes by the ‘feel’ of the bat more than its weight or specification,” says Madan Sharma, the batsman’s friend, coach and mentor all rolled into one.
Vijay allowed Dhawan to borrow his bat when the left- hander walked out with him to make his Test debut and the rest, as they say, is history.
Vijay’s bat has now produced the fastest debut Test hundred ever, two consecutive ODI hundreds and a half- century for Dhawan, and incidentally both had the same bat sponsor.
“He had a few offers from bat companies and sponsors but it was my suggestion that he should go back to playing with the SS bat. After all, that’s when he had the best phase of his life and went on to become the man of the series in the under- 19 World Cup. Shikhar agreed and by coincidence, he again became the man of the series,” says Sharma.
Vijay’s bat is now much in demand in Indian dressing room, but playing with a borrowed bat is a tradition in the team. Gautam Gambhir hit his purple patch in 2007 to 2009 using Virender Sehwag’s bat, and even got the bat signed with a good luck message on its back.
Harbhajan Singh scored his first Test hundred using Sachin Tendulkar’s bat, while Yuvraj Singh often used to ask Sourav Ganguly to lend his bat. Even in other teams, there have been plenty of such examples, the most famous being Shahid Afridi hitting the fastest ODI hundred using Waqar Younis’s bat.
With Dhawan and Rohit becoming a successful opening pair, Team India may not be in urgent need of Vijay’s services as a batsman. But his bat is high on the list of essentials.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved
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