Shikhar Dhawan had the perfect response for commentator Harsha Bhogle, first on the field and then in the post-match presentation, after he was criticised for his strike-rate during a Punjab Kings match.
Dhawan batted through the innings for an unbeaten 86 off 56 balls against Rajasthan Royals, propping up his side’s total of 197-4. Bhogle took aim at Dhawan during the game, suggesting his “anchor batter” role might be out of place in T20 cricket.
“Shikhar Dhawan’s innings will raise, should raise, the question of whether you can have an anchor batter, especially in these conditions,” Bhogle tweeted. “You can appear to have increased your strike rate by the end, but the 30 balls at run-a-ball can hurt.”
Punjab Kings held off Rajasthan Royals to secure a five-run win, and Bhogle later clarified his position that such innings were only debateable in high-scoring games.
“This topic is not specific to Shikhar today,” he added. “We have been talking about it over the last 2-3 years; about fine players like KL Rahul, Babar Azam, at times even Virat Kohli & Jos Buttler. My view is that in a 150-160 game, you might consider that role but not in a 180-190 game.”
Despite defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad, there were no such questions over Dhawan’s performance. He made an unbeaten 99 off 66 balls, one of only two scores above five in the innings – Sam Curran’s 22 being the other. Dhawan even put on a 55-run stand for the last wicket, of which No.11 Mohit Rathee supplied just one. He was named Player of the Match for his efforts.
In the presentation, Dhawan was interviewed by Bhogle, and had the perfect retort ready. “I hope you were happy with my strike-rate as you tweeted something,” he said before laughing. “I can bowl googlies as well!”