Shikhar Dhawan has travelled a journey that has seen him rise as one of India’s most loved openers of all time. An angry young man on the field and a buoyant soul off it, Shikhar Dhawan has managed to win hearts with almost everything he has done so far. He endured himself in the domestic circuit for almost ten years.
People term it as struggle while Shikhar himself calls it his love for the game. Whatever it was, struggle or his love for Cricket, it ultimately handed him what he fittingly deserves, an Indian Jersey with his name embedded on it in bolds. The moment he played his first match against Australia, India felt they’ve got their Sehwag back. That flamboyance which left the opponents reeling for breathing space defined Shikhar Dhawan’s image of being a hard-hitting opener right from the word go. Known more for his Gabbaresque celebrations, Dhawan holds a story that Cricket rarely witnesses.
The “Comeback King”, the “Man of Big Moments”, and of course the only “Gabbar” India loves today, here is the unscripted tale behind the making of Dhawan that longs to be told to the whole world.
5’11” (180 cms)
Weight: 71 kg
Father’s Name: Mahendra Pal
Mother’s Name: Sunaina Pal
Siblings: Shreshta (Younger Sister)
Nickname: Gabbar, Jatt Ji
Date Of Birth: 5 December 1985
Place Of Birth: Delhi
Ayesha Mukherjee (Married 30 October 2012)
Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan and his wife Ayesha Mukherjee parted ways after eight years of marriage on 7.9.2021
Zoravar, Rhea, and Aliyah
85 Crore INR
Shikhar Dhawan loved playing Cricket from a very young age. He had his schooling started at St Marks Senior Secondary Public School in Delhi. Not particularly good with academics, Dhawan had an interest in running a business if he failed to get himself a career in Cricket. When he was dropped from Delhi’s U-16 squad for the first time, he went out and started selling plastic boxes, which was a business run by one his uncles. Rather fortunately, his coach, Tarak Sinha, called him back two days later and made him realise he is made only for Cricket.
His childhood had all the experiences you’d expect a fun loving Jatt to have. From having those adolescent fight with guys with much better build up than him, to bursting crackers in a friend’s home, Dhawan has done it all. His love for cricket found him at the Sonnet Club by the time he turned 12 training under Tarak Sinha, a man credited with training 12 international cricketers. He couldn’t get rid of his mischievous self though, as he kept cracking jokes on field while playing for Delhi. That habit of his prompted one of his teammates at Delhi, to hand him the nickname “Gabbar”, which turned out to be the name India loves now.
After starting his training at the Sonnet Club in Delhi under Tarak Sinha, Shikhar Dhawan kept moving ahead in the right stead to soon find himself playing for Delhi before the turn of century. Dhawan first played for Delhi U-16s aged just 14 in the Vijay Merchant Trophy of 1999/2000. It was however in the next season that he stamped his authority in the tournament, as he ended up being the highest run-getter in 2000-01 Vijay Merchant Trophy, where Delhi finished second. Moving on to the next level, he played for North Zone U-16s in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2001.
His performances for Delhi U-16s were soon rewarded as he earned his first call up from the national side to represent India U-17 for ACC Asia Cup 2000-01. After impressing on that level, he next played for Delhi U-19 aged just 15. He played in the U-19 domestic circuit for three more years and captained Delhi U-19 in 2003. He was drafted into the India U-19 squad for the 2004 ICC Cricket World Cup to be held in Bangladesh. Though India were ousted in the semi-final at the hands of arch-rivals Pakistan, Shikhar Dhawan ended up as the tournament’s top run-getter and bagged the player of the tournament award. He still holds the record for most runs in a single tournament for scoring 505 runs in just 7 innings.
Now, it was time for Dhawan to step up on the big stage after returning from Bangladesh. He debuted for Delhi against Andhra Pradesh in the 2004-05 Ranji Trophy and got out on an unfortunate 49. With success written all over his career so far, it was now time for Gabbar to taste struggle finally. He kept grinding it out for six long years in the domestic circuit with Delhi. He had seasons where he ended up as Delhi’s top scorer but had seen himself falter in the very next season. Consistency has deprived him but he kept enjoying the game he loved. He kept showing off his exploits with the bat for North Zone in the limited overs format and also impressed while playing for India Red in the Challenger Trophy.
After six long years in the domestic circuit, it was now time for Shikhar Dhawan to don the Indian Jersey. He debuted during the third ODI for a second-string Indian squad that took on Australia in 2010. He had the most disastrous possible start to his international career, getting cleaned up by Clint McKay for a second ball duck. Despite that, he managed to retain his place in the squad that was to play West Indies. He failed to impress again and was subsequently dropped thereafter. After an astonishing 2012-13 season, he earned a call-up to the national side again, this time however to okay in the whites.
Coming in for an out-of-form Virendar Sehwag in the third test of the series, Shikhar Dhawan announced his arrival with a record-breaking century against the mighty Aussies to see India ending up on the winning side. Since then, he has never looked back and delivered performances that have made him a regular opener for India now. He did have a dry run of form occasionally, but never did he stop enjoying the game.
His arrival at the international stage came at the cost of arguably one of world’s most explosive openers, Virendar Sehwag. India had tried out all the available resources but failed to fix the void created because of an ageing Sehwag’s poor form. Dhawan’s flamboyant style of play made the selectors believe he might just be the next Sehwag. He did manage to bring those quick starts back to the Indian batting lineup but did have a lot more to do to become the next Sehwag. Yes he might have failed to be the next Sehwag, but has surely succeeded in becoming the first Shikhar Dhawan India has ever seen.
Apart from Dhawan’s inconsistency, he has also managed to draw criticism at times for his Jatt attitude which saw him getting fined for inappropriate behaviour at times. He has however, managed all those criticism with a smile so far. No matter what you say about him, he’ll go out there and live every bit of the time he gets to spend on the pitch. His smiles too have often ended up offending the critics at times. But yes, keeping all the senseless criticisms aside, Dhawan will surely look to silence the critics who point towards his inconsistency with his bat instead of his smile next time.
Cars & Bikes Owned
Dhawan has a house in Delhi and Mumbai with a combined value estimated to be over 15 Crore INR.
Shikhar Dhawan is an out and out gentleman off the field. He married Ayesha Mukherjee, who had two daughters already. Dhawan takes pride in becoming the father of two daughters at just 27 years of age. He labels it as something that brought him a lot more maturity. He loves horse riding and has developed a passion for the same of late. He spends as much time possible with his family. He is a religious person to the core and loves practising every bit of it whenever he gets time.
We just wish our Gabbar remains in top form for as many years as his body allows him to serve Indian Cricket and keep bringing smiles to the millions of fans who love to see him open the batting for India.