Irfan Pathan feels that Shikhar Dhawan's free playing style allows time for his Team India opening partner, Rohit Sharma, to settle down at the start of the innings. The two limited-overs specialist batsmen have been opening together for India since 2013 and are known for their huge partnerships.
Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan made their ODI debuts for India three years apart, in 2007 and 2010, but they started opening together only in 2013. Former India pacer Irfan Pathan, on Star Sports' 'Cricket Connected', revealed that he reckons that the reason behind Dhawan and Sharma's extremely successful opening partnership is their ability to play to each other's strengths.
According to Pathan, the left-hander sticking to his free style of batting gives the Indian vice-captain time to settle down early on and the former all-rounder further added that both the experienced batsmen are aware of each other's strengths and that makes a huge difference.
"We know Shikhar plays very freely. He gives time to Rohit Sharma. We all know how Rohit Sharma is able to change gears very quickly, but he takes time early on. In cricket you need someone at the other end to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Shikhar understands when Rohit Sharma needs time, for at least the few overs to get himself going," Pathan said on Star Sports.
"So, he used to take the charge and I think that's what makes him successful. And as soon as the spinners came and Rohit Sharma got settled, he took all the pressure away from Shikhar Dhawan, so that's why the whole camaraderie really, really went on well for Team India for so many years," Pathan said.
Till date, Rohit and Dhawan have shared 16 century stands between them and are joint second with Australia's Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden in the list of most hundred-run partnerships after Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly (21), who top the chart.
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