Does Dhawan raise his game for ICC tournaments?
History of big-tournament success
Shikhar Dhawan's average in the Champions Trophy is now 92.66, thanks to big performances in the 2013 edition and a century against Sri Lanka in the ongoing one, but his love affair with ICC tournaments began long ago. In the 2004 Under-19 World Cup, he scored 505 runs at an average of 84.16, with three centuries in seven innings.
Top of the table since 2013
His next world tournament was the 2013 Champions Trophy in England, and he averaged 90.75 at a strike rate of 101, with two hundreds in five innings. He was the leading run-getter and won the Man-of-the-Series award. Then came the 2015 World Cup in Australia, where Dhawan scored 412 at 51.50 at a strike rate of almost 92. His eight innings in the tournament included 73 against Pakistan and 137 against South Africa. He was India's highest run-getter in the tournament and fifth overall. After scoring a half-century and hundred in the first two games of this year's Champions Trophy, he is well ahead of everyone else in the list of leading run-getters in big ODI tournaments since 2013.
So, does he raise his game for big events?
His average in big ODI tournaments is 69.14, which is much higher than his overall ODI average of 44.36, so it would appear so. But you have to take a few things into account. First, his performances in World T20s has been poor - he averages 10.57. So he clearly doesn't perform above par in all big tournaments across formats.
Also, his form coming in to the last two Champions Trophy competitions has been good. He was the third highest run scorer in IPL 2017, and back in 2013, he came into the Champions Trophy on the back of an impressive IPL and a century on debut in Tests. So it was more about him continuing productive patches than lifting his performance. But before the 2015 World Cup, he had had a poor Test and ODI series in Australia. He managed to improve dramatically during the World Cup, which was played in the same conditions.
Dhawan's 114 off 94 balls against South Africa in the first game of the 2013 Champions Trophy helped India reach 331 and start the tournament with a win. In India's next game, they had to chase West Indies' 233 and Dhawan made it easy with a century. In the 2015 World Cup, India's biggest win was against much-fancied South Africa in the group stages, and Dhawan set it up with 137 off 146 balls. That knock came on the back of his fifty against Pakistan, which also contributed to a win. In the 2017 Champions Trophy, his 125 off 128 balls against Sri Lanka took India to a total of 321.