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“The tournament is a great stage to showcase professionalism and the relentless pursuit of excellence, as exemplified by two very senior and sincere batsmen,” wrote Laxman in his column for The Times of India, before introducing the two batsmen.
“Shikhar Dhawan and AB de Villiers have been outstanding for their franchises so far.”
At the moment, Delhi Capitals‘ opener Dhawan tops the list of run-getters this season with 186 runs in three matches at a strike rate of 163.15 and a highest of 92.
“Starting from last year’s IPL, these last eight months or so is the best I have seen Shikhar bat in T20 cricket. It reminds me of his Under-19 and India A days, when he was fearless, aggressive and took the fight to the bowlers from the beginning,” said Laxman.
IPL POINTS TABLE
“Shikhar has been playing international cricket for more than a decade and is 35, but he is a shining example of the truism that the learning process never ends. By his own admission, he went back to the drawing board to reinvent himself as a T20 batsman a couple of years back. That’s a wonderful attitude to possess.”
By his own admission, Dhawan is making a concerted effort this season to improve his strike rate in order to improve his chances for the T20 World Cup in India later this year.
“The first step towards getting better is acknowledging that there is room for improvement. In Shikhar’s willingness to put in the hard yards and not rest on his laurels is a great lesson for youngsters not just from Delhi Capitals, but across the T20 landscape.
In the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp, AB de Villiers has give his team the best start possible. The Virat Kohli-led side sits on top of the points table with 3/3 wins.
“AB, of course, is just phenomenal. You think you have seen it all, and yet, year after year, he takes your breath away with his innovativeness and creativity. He doesn’t play international cricket any longer, so it’s little short of amazing that he continues to retain his passion, zest, fitness and appetite,” Laxman wrote in his column.
De Villiers, however, hasn’t ruled out an international comeback with a discussion with South Africa coach Mark Boucher lined up after the IPL.
He is fifth in the list of run-scorers this season so far with 125 runs from three matches at a strike rate of 189.39.
“I wouldn’t recommend that young batsmen attempt to emulate his [de Villiers’s] stroke-play because that’s impossible, but there is so much to learn from his work ethic and his commitment.
“In that regard, AB and Shikhar have established themselves as the leading lights of the competition so far,” Laxman concluded.