After a lean patch,Shikhar Dhawan hopes to hit peak form
Anyone who saw Shikhar Dhawan scoring back-to-back centuries in the last edition of the Irani Cup held at Jaipur,would not have imagined that a major slump was to follow immediately after. Although,after enduring a lean Ranji season last year,Dhawan recovered and made some amends during the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Indian Premier League,hitting half centuries to stay afloat,a year has passed since and he is once again standing on the fringes. But he can breathe a sigh of relief as despite his dip,selectors have shown belief in Dhawan’s capabilities as an opener and his name has featured in the Rest of India squad. Dhawan is hoping to convert the 2012-2013 season into a breakthrough year with an even better impact. He talks to the Sportline from Hyderabad where he is captaining the Delhi squad in the Moin-ud-Dowla Trophy about how he is preparing for the upcoming cricket calender. Excerpts:
After your Irani Cup performance last year wherein you scored two centuries,did it cross your mind that a rough patch would be around the corner and that too when it mattered the most? And how did you cope up with that?
Like every player,if you have two centuries under your belt,you are not really expecting your confidence to be shattered. I was very positive after the Irani Cup and I thought I will be able to transfer the same confidence in the Ranji Trophy. But sometimes things don’t go according to plan and I had to endure a lean season. But thankfully,the Vijay Hazare Trophy and IPL gave me some respite after my performance during the longer format of the domestic circuit. With every match you learn and try to rectify the mistakes. I am happy that I pulled off some knocks in the limited overs cricket.
How crucial is it for you to make the most of this opportunity to play the Irani Cup?.
I understand how lucky I am to have gotten this chance. But this is just the incentive I needed and I know that my bad days are over. I know this season is very important for me and I will make sure that I make a lot of runs and help my team win.
During your dip in performance,did you spot any flaws in technique that needed ironing out?
I don’t think that something major was going wrong with my batting. It was just that I was failing. I think such horrible times come in every player’s life. You can’t perform every time and neither the times when you fail last forever. So I was continuously assessing my batting and was trying to stay at the wicket as long as possible. But the rewards only came during the Vijay Hazare Trophy and later in IPL where I scored some fifties. Since the season is just a month away,I had gone to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) where I worked hard before going to play the Moin-ud-Dowla in Hyderabad. The only change I intend to employ as of now is to be patient. I have to be patient enough to survive an entire day on the turf. Since I will be playing Irani,I have to stay as long as possible on the crease. Same goes with the one-day format as it is not at all a short game.
Did you ever think of demoting yourself down the batting line-up?
I have never done that and neither do I have plans such as these in future. All my career I have batted as an opener and I will continue to bat at the same position. As a batsman one should know how to deal with both good and bad times. Coming down the order will not help me in improving myself as I like to play against fast bowlers and I am up for that challenge.
What kind of effect is captaincy having on your batting?
Yes being a captain,you have to take care a lot of other things as well and being a senior player of this Delhi side,I have to shoulder the responsibility of helping my team win. At the same time,it is not sure that I will be leading Delhi in the Ranji Trophy but there the responsibility will be to lead the team to safety as an opener. So that kind of pressure in a way helps you to perform better. Playing the Moin-ud-Dowla is a great platform before the season as you can’t get better match practice than this. And the form or confidence you gain by playing matches cannot be gained by simply playing in the nets.