When Dhawan threw Rohit in the deep end in 2013 Champions Trophy
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan opened together for the first time in 2013 and have gone on to form one of the most successful pairs at the top of the order in ODI cricket.
It was an ICC event, the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy in England, when Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan opened the batting together for the Indian cricket team for the first time and have not looked back since. They clicked right away and have become one of the most successful pairs at the top of the order in the 50-over format.
The two have been friends since Under-19 days, and the camaraderie shows on the field.
In the list of most ODI runs scored by opening pairs, headed by Ganguly and Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan occupy the fourth place behind Ganguly-Tendulkar, Gilchrist-Hayden and Greenidge-Haynes. Dhawan and Sharma have opened the batting together for India in 107 ODIs and have added 4802 runs at an average of 45.30, with 16 hundred and 14 fifty partnerships.
Rohit Sharma was understandably nervous as it was the first time that the Mumbai batsman was opening the batting in the tournament, and that too in a multi-nation event.
“I was very nervous because I had never opened before, not even in practice matches. And the Champions Trophy is such a big series. When MS (Dhoni) asked me to open, I said yes but it is only later that I was rethinking my decision.”
Rohit requested Dhawan to face the first ball, but the frank individual that Gabbar is, he refused it straight away. But, it is this quality of being absolutely honest to each other which bore fruit.
“I had no clue against who we were going to play. As a player, you get the psychological feel whether you’ll play or not. So I was preparing for that since I am not playing what would I do the entire day- training or something else. I didn’t even know we were playing against South Africa,” Rohit added.
“Later, when I asked him [Shikhar] if he would take the strike, he refused. But then I was like what is the harm anyway. I will be out, that’s it. So, I took the chance. Interestingly, we had a 100-run partnership. That was one tournament to remember because we won all the matches, even practice matches.”
The two openers are still going strong, and with another ICC event around the corner, they will be crucial for Team India’s fortunes.