Chennai, April 25 -- With one twirl of his whiskers, and one hell of a debut innings, Shikhar Dhawan won the hearts of millions of fans. The southpaw's rampaging 187 on debut is easily the most impressive first-up performance by any Indian batsman. Now, it's time for an encore. The Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman will play his first innings since that magical knock, and the subsequent fracture on his hand, when he takes the field against the Chennai Super Kings on Thursday.
The 'stache is back Cricketers and moustaches seem like a thing of the past, something you are likely to see in highlights of 1980s matches.
Think Merv Hughes running in, all 250 pounds of him, with vicious intent in his eyes and a thick handlebar adding to the intimidation.
Or, his fellow Australian, David Boon, with his own bushy, walrus moustache.
The English had Graham Gooch with his famous Zapata moustache. Even, India's cricketers weren't complete without a little facial hair, think Kapil Dev or Manoj Prabhakar. West Indies' Clive Lloyd, ironically nicknamed 'Big Cat', had a moustache so thick you could hardly call them whiskers.
Now, of course, cricketers are squeaky clean. In the six years since the advent of the Indian T20 league, the most famous moustache wasn't even a real one.
Remember Shane Warne with that faux moustache that became a Rajasthan Royals trademark?
Well, worry not. With Dhawan's return, the T20 league just became a lot manlier.
If Dhawan's 'stache is a throwback, his batting is very modern filled with booming cover drives and audacious strokeplay. Upright in his stance, Dhawan showed the whole range of his strokes in that blistering 174-ball 187 at Mohali.
In the month since that dream debut, he has swelled his bank account and managed to land sponsorship deals, even twirling his now-famous moustache in television advertisements.
But, come Thursday, all that will take a back seat. For, as much as we like the twirl of that moustache, we prefer it more when the helpless bowlers are left scratching their head!
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.