IPL 10

IPL 10: Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Shikhar Dhawan is quietly knocking on India’s door

The 31-year-old is the sixth highest run-scorer in the IPL this year, with a highest total of 70 scored against the Delhi Daredevils.

Many names have emerged from the Sunrisers Hyderabad’s squad this IPL season. From the skipper, David Warner, to Rashid Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Ashish Nehra, there has been no dearth of players who have done their bit in pushing the defending champions to the second place in the points table.

But, until his performance against the Delhi Daredevils on Wednesday, there was no mention whatsoever of Shikhar Dhawan. Furthermore, Warner scoring the bulk of runs at the top of the order also meant that his opening partner, and his fellow southpaw went completely under the radar.

Coincidentally then, Dhawan’s (eventual) rise to the thick of things came about because of Warner after the Australian lost his wicket – for once – cheaply in the Sunrisers’ match against the Daredevils. Dhawan lingered on at the field for almost the entirety of the 20-over count, patiently composing a 70-run knock off 50 runs. It the Delhi native’s first half-century in this year’s IPL, and his highest score in the six matches he has played in the tournament this far.

Opening up of opportunities

Statistically, thanks to this one knock, Dhawan also bettered his previous year’s IPL record averaging around 34.1 runs in these six matches at an aggregate total of 205 runs. In comparison, the 31-year-old had finished the 2016 season at an average of around 38.5, with a total of 501 runs scored across the 17 matches played that year.

Aside of statistical nitty-gritty, what has been most impressive about Dhawan this year around has been the maturity with which he has been playing, and even that has been largely obscured, or conveniently brushed aside.

Where in the past Dhawan’s flamboyance often had him throwing his wicket away needlessly while trying to take unnecessary risks, he’s taken a newer initiative in trying to add to his contributions on the field by being patient. And while it has not worked every time he has taken the field, it’s yielded some notable results too.

Dhawan’s allowing of Kane Williamson to take control of the proceedings despite the latter being the new batsman in on Tuesday struck out noticeably. But it wasn’t the first time that Dhawan has had given his partner room to play aggressively, even as he has maintained the pace of the innings from the other end, unburdened by pressure on his shoulders. That Warner has then emerged as the top run-getter in the league this year is then also because of the way the Sunrisers’ opening pair has functioned.

With the current context of cricket’s outreach avenues, the IPL – irrespective, and in spite, of its numerous debacles – holds quite a fine distinction in helping several players reassert their patchy form, even bringing them back to prominence. Not in the tournament and for their particular team alone, but in the international cricketing stages as well.

For Dhawan, who has had an extended length of inconsistencies of his own, this could be his chance to get back to donning the national colours again. Starting with the shortest format, all the way back up to the Test whites.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.