As the Sunrisers cruised to a thumping win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the stunning image of a smiling lady stood out in the stands. Shikhar Dhawan’s unbeaten half century had just taken his side to victory against a formidable opposition, and his wife’s happiness and excitement saw no bounds. She stood there in all her glory, applauding his efforts, and commending their feat, as if it were her own cherished victory.

It is said that true love knows no barriers, and perhaps their relationship bears strongest testimony to this statement. It did not matter that she was twelve years older to him; age is just a number, they say.  And it never mattered that he would be busy playing in India all year round, while she and the rest of the family would be left in Melbourne alone. Neither age, nor distance could disturb the unflinching commitment she had towards him.

Behind every successful man, there is a woman. Meet Ayesha Mukherjee, the woman behind the success of star India-batsman Shikhar Dhawan. Interestingly, the couple first interacted after Dhawan sent his would-be wife a friend request on Facebook. They had known each other through Harbhajan Singh, and their interaction soon turned into friendship that blossomed into love. Soon, in the year 2009, they got engaged.

Life had not been easy for the Anglo-Bengali girl Ayesha. At an early age, her parents left India and shifted to Australia, where she had to adapt to the new culture and society. Her first marriage did not last long, and she has two daughters from the wedlock – Rhea and Alyah – whom she brought up as a single mother. This became a bone of contention between Shikhar Dhawan and his parents, when Dhawan wished to take her as his life partner.

Shikhar Dhawan’s life, and his cricketing career, seemed to be heading nowhere before he met Ayesha. Nobody doubted his ability and talent, but there was a big question mark over his temperament. Dhawan believes his wife is responsible for instilling in him the all-important mental toughness and self-belief. He credits her with bringing about a sea-change in his fortunes, when he was looking down the barrel. What followed was a spectacular run in the Challenger Trophy and an even better Ranji season for his home side that year.

Being an avid sports buff herself, Ayesha understood and supported his cricketing commitments. So when the couple tied the knot in the autumn of 2012, she very well knew she would have to constantly travel between Australia and India. Dhawan soon got a call-up for the national Test side, and lady luck seemed to have spearheaded him. Shikhar Dhawan believes that although his wife resides in Melbourne, she is more Indian than he is. She speaks fluent Bengali, cooks Indian delicacies and follows more customs than an average Indian wife. Distance, clearly, would not be a bridge between them in the future.

Ayesha is a kick-boxer by profession, and has managed to keep their personal life under wraps. She seldom makes an appearance before the public eye or desires the fame and attention given to WAGs of Indian cricketers. This season of IPL has been different though, where she got the chance to support Dhawan’s side from the stadium itself. She has backed him behind the scenes all along, and perhaps now is the time she finds apt to show her support more explicitly.

The couple became proud parents to a young boy Zoravar Dhawan in early 2014. Ayesha has successfully and single handedly borne the burden of parenting, while being an equally good wife and daughter. The story of Shikhar Dhawan and Ayesha Mukherjee is an inspiring one to say the least. Success in life does not come served on a platter, but with a woman like that in your life, the path certainly becomes easier.