NEW DELHI: Behind Shikhar Dhawan’s cheerful exterior lies an intensely “spiritual man” who has made peace with representing India in only one format.
Approaching his 37th birthday, Dhawan has made a pledge to himself.
“Till the time I am playing for India, I would like to be an asset and not a liability,” Dhawan told PTI in an exclusive interaction after leading India to an ODI series victory in the West Indies.
From the start of 2020 till the end of the West Indies series, Dhawan has played 22 ODIs and scored 975 runs with 10 half-centuries, the highest by an Indian batter by a distance.
“I am a calm, matured person. The performance is a reflection of my experience,” Dhawan said when he was reminded of his phenomenal numbers.
“My basics have been pretty strong and I have put in a lot of work to improve my technique. Understanding a format is also very important. I understand the dynamics of ODI format and that has helped me a lot,” he added when probed further.
So what is the process to remain consistent in ODIs at a time when bilateral T20Is are gaining precedence. Besides, there is also considerable gap between two 50-over series?
“I never let this feeling creep into my system that “Oh God, I am playing only one format or I am playing an ODI series after a long time. Will my body respond well to the rigours of international cricket or will it not? Frankly speaking, I don’t like entertaining these thoughts,” the senior opener gave a peek into his thought process.
“I view it like this. If I am playing a format after a gap of two months or three months, it always gives me a chance to remain fresh and come into battle fully fit, and with enough time to work on my game.”
For Dhawan, it is important to value what he has rather than cribbing about what he doesn’t.
“I am always counting my blessings and if I am playing one format for India, I should try and make the most of it and give it my all. I am a very positive person. You won’t find a negative bone in my body,” he smiled.
Dhawan feels that fitness wise, he is getting better with age.
“I think now, at 36, I am fitter than ever before and also skill-wise, I have gotten better. Gym sessions, skill sessions, running and yoga, these four things are core aspects of my training,” he added.
Of late, Dhawan hasn’t played red ball cricket at first-class level and does get a lot of time apart from the IPL, where he is able to work on his game, something that has really helped him.
“When I am not playing matches, I train at my own academy in Gurgaon. I mostly do my net sessions there. I try to hire some quality net bowlers. Also in and around Gurgaon, you have some good facilities and a lot of net bowlers who are ready to come and bowl to you.”
“As a leader, you need to get best out of people with a smile”
Dhawan will soon be leading India in an away series in Zimbabwe, and is also likely to lead against South Africa at home in October, when the first team will be off to Australia for the T20 World Cup.