IPL 2019: People panic, it’s just a perception I was out of form - Shikhar Dhawan
After starting the tournament on a somewhat edgy note with a half-century that was termed ‘slow’ even by Delhi coach Ricky Ponting, Dhawan has taken off in the last five matches, spanking three fifties.Updated: Apr 28, 2019 09:31 IST
Shikhar Dhawan’s string of good scores have come at just the right time for Delhi Capitals, who, at third spot on the points table, now need just one victory to enter the IPL play-off stage. In Delhi today, they will be up against a resurgent Royal Challengers Bangalore.
After starting the tournament on a somewhat edgy note with a half-century that was termed ‘slow’ even by Delhi coach Ricky Ponting, Dhawan has taken off in the last five matches, spanking three fifties.
With the World Cup ahead, and Dhawan picked as the lone left-handed batsman in the team, his consistency in the IPL augurs well for India too.
On the eve of the game against RCB, Dhawan spoke about his form and the World Cup ahead.
Is this a return to form for you?
I don’t think I was out of form. Form is for the media and critics, not for me. I wasn’t struggling. I was getting the starts and the scores too, got 50-odd at the start. It is just a perception that I was out of form. If you play quickly, you will have to take risks and that can go the other way, especially in T20. It has become a sort of trend for me (that) whenever I talk to people after failing in five to seven games, they ask me if my form has gone. Then when I click in five or seven games, people say I am back in form. I don’t think on those lines. I know how my touch is, how I am playing. I am enjoying IPL this time, playing for Delhi Capitals, enjoying playing under Ricky Ponting and with Dada (Sourav Ganguly).
You struggled over the last 19 ODI innings. Is that a worry ahead of the World Cup? Or a possible burnout from IPL.
The last 19 innings shouldn’t define me. I think I have done enough in my career with 16 hundreds in 135 One-day Internationals. I was among the fastest to reach 5000 runs. I don’t think I have been out of touch. People, I feel, panic quickly. I don’t worry at all, in fact, never have at any point in my life. I am fit and fine, not fighting anything (fitness issues). I feel, this (playing IPL before World Cup) is no big deal, just normal. The good thing is that the body is in momentum, going on smoothly. Also, I am playing well, scoring. The more I play well, the better it will be for us. I’ll take the momentum into the World Cup.
You are a freeflowing opener, but as the only left-hander in India team, you may be expected to play long, to blunt leg-spinners and left-arm spinners in middle overs.
I will play positively, that is my game. I’ll express myself. I cannot think that being the only left-hander, I’ll have to play till a particular period. I have to play to my strengths. I am an aggressive batsman and that is what made me successful. Rohit and I are experienced players, we know how to give a start to an innings. If we go on to play till each one of us gets 40-50, we are settled and sorted. I will go in with a positive mindset, to take on the bowlers. It can’t happen that I say I’ll have to stay till 25 overs but I don’t make runs. I don’t believe in that mindset. We have to score runs, the game is about scoring runs. It’s not that if there is a World Cup, I am going to think of something new.
We most likely have a new No. 4 in Vijay Shankar. What message do the three senior players—Rohit, Virat and you—have for him?
He should back his game, because every individual knows his game well. Both Vijay and KL Rahul, the youngsters, understand the situation and the game very well. However, whatever I or we say now won’t be as important as the communication in the middle, when you are batting. If someone batting in the middle is under pressure, what the batsman at the other end says can help change the mindset.
That on-pitch discussion will be key.
Your performance in England, especially in ICC events is very good. You average 65 in ODIs in England and 45 overall.
I feel the pitches are very good in ICC tournaments. They are true wickets which suit my batting. The ball coming on nicely, the bounce being nice too. I enjoy playing on those sort of wickets. Also, playing different teams (in an event like the World Cup) helps—often you come across a bowling that is a bit weak. That can help you get into rhythm if you haven’t got a good start. But beyond that, I play with the same mindset and the same process everywhere. Even when I play Ranji Trophy. The good thing is that when you score runs, the confidence level increases. And that is a big factor.
The secret behind thigh-five, your unique style of celebration?
I enjoy watching kabaddi.That is what inspired this. I guess because I do it with an open heart, people connect with it quickly. Earlier, I had the moustache twirl, now I don’t keep that moustache, so it’s thigh-five.
What’s your fitness regimen?
I go to the gym, run on the ground, and do mobility during pool sessions. We have to keep fitness levels high so that injuries are minimised.
First Published: Apr 28, 2019 09:31 IST