I understand South African conditions better now: Dhawan

“When you play on foreign pitches, you get used to their nature. We are getting ready for the tour and we are high on confidence."

New Delhi: In a country where most children growing up dream of playing cricket for the country, breaking into the Indian team is no mean feat.

That someone as talented as Shikhar Dhawan made his Test debut at the age of 27 shows that the competition is intense. Even as the Delhi left-hander sweated it out on the domestic circuit, two of his statemates — Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir — made the opening slots in the Indian team their own.

But their slump in form and Dhawan’s superlative performances have allowed him to be established at the top of the order, and it will be very difficult for the veteran duo to make a comeback into the national team.

However, Dhawan feels it is part of the ups and downs of sport.

“It feels really good when players like Gambhir appreciate your hard work. All this talk about how difficult it will be for them to return to the team, due to my performance, doesn’t hold much relevance. When I was waiting in the line, I also thought that I will have to play exceedingly well to get noticed,” Dhawan said during an event in the Capital on Tuesday.

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“I tried and enjoyed my game and gave it my best shot. This is all part of the cycle and competition doesn’t bother me.”

While there was no doubting Dhawan’s talent, his maturity and concentration had been questioned time and again.

But in the last one year, he has looked a completely different player and he too believes that the hunger to play for the country has changed his approach towards the game.

“I have matured a lot in the last few years. Technically, I have always been sound and it was more about mental strength and playing the right shots. I know my game really well now and once I get into rhythm, I don’t lose concentration anymore."

“Also, I got hungrier for runs when I didn’t play well for India in the ODIs against Australia and West Indies. I went back to the nets and worked hard on my game. The love that I have for the game has kept me going,” he said.

Dhawan recently scored 248 while playing for India ‘A’ against South Africa ‘A’ and the left-hander feels there is no reason why someone can’t score a triple hundred in the limited-overs format.

“You need to dream big. I had always thought that I will score a double hundred and with the kinds of shots that I have in my repertoire, there is no reason why I can’t score even more,” he asserted.

Dhawan said the ‘A’ tour has helped him understand the South African conditions better.

“When you play on foreign pitches, you get used to their nature. We are getting ready for the tour and we are high on confidence."

“We are a young and strong side. We have been doing well on foreign soil which makes us confident,” he said.

Dhawan has played under both Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli, but is wary of comparing the two.

“Dhoni has won so many tournaments for the country. He is one of the best captains in the world. Kohli, on the other hand, is young and has his own style, so I don’t think we can compare the two.” 

Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.

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