The cricket culture that Shikhar Dhawan learnt at the Sonnet Club in Delhi made him a STRONG PLAYER.
In searing heat, on way to the venue for a crucial match, Shikhar Dhawan came down with a flat tyre. It was a Bajaj Sunny and he had no option but to walk the rest of the way. So, he walked and ran, pushing the light vehicle along, and managed to reach the ground in time to make it to the playing XI. The distance covered was more than 5km and reflected his passion for cricket. “Nothing was going to stop me,” Dhawan remembers his formative years in local cricket.
He is a part of the west Delhi cricket factory. “It is a cricket factory. So many have played for India, and so many for Delhi,” is how veteran coach Sharvan Kumar refers to players from this part of the national capital. The list is quite impressive — Raman Lamba, K. P. Bhaskar, Atul Wassan, Amit Mishra, Ashish Nehra, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma, Gautam Gambhir, Aakash Chopra are all from west Delhi or areas close to it.
Mad about cricket
Dhawan, residing in Vikaspuri, had little option but to go to the Sonnet Club which held its nets at the nearby Rajdhani College. Former umpire Ram Babu Gupta was among the early promoters of this skinny lad, who wanted to do nothing but play cricket. “Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done if not for cricket. My day would begin with plans to play as much as possible, as many (tennis ball) matches as possible,” recalls Dhawan. He hated if it rained because it would ruin his training schedule at St. Mark’s School in Meera Bagh, Paschim Vihar.
St. Mark’s is not really known for cricket. But the school has a wonderful cricket facility hiding behind its facade. Madan Sharma, the coach at St. Mark’s, was initially engaged at the Sonnet Club, which had shifted to Venkateshwara College from Rajdhani College. Tarak Sinha was the head coach at Sonnet when Dhawan came with a request to be enrolled.
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June 15, 2019