The IPL clearly has its advantages and Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan admits that he has been a direct beneficiary of facing Afghanistan star spinner Rashid Khan at the Sunrisers Hyderabad nets for the past two years.
Dhawan smashed his way to a 96-ball-107 and was especially severe on Rashid during his first session century as India finished the day at 347 for 6 on the first day of the historic one-off Test.
“One thing (advantage) is that I have faced him (Rashid) in the nets for the past two years as we play for the same IPL team. I am used to his bowling and that was an advantage for sure. It helped me,” Dhawan said at the post-match press conference.
Dhawan was happy that he won the battle against his Sunrisers teammate but at the same time expected Rashid to become a better Test match bowler with all the lessons that he would learn from this game.
“They came back very well in the final session and I am sure they are going to learn a lot of things and go a long way ahead. Of course, I enjoyed my battle with Rashid and I am happy that I dominated. But he is a great bowler and on his day, he will take some serious wickets,” said Dhawan.
He became the first Indian to score a hundred in the first session of a Test match and he didn’t know about it till he came back to the dressing room.
“It feels great. I didn’t know about the record till I came back into the dressing room at lunch where it showed on TV,” he said.
While he came down the track to the spinners, the batsmen coming later didn’t do that. Dhawan refused to blame them.
“Every player has his own game and a team is made up of different characters. My game is different from Vijay’s. Each one of us has different qualities. There are a few who love to step out and hit while a few play spinners from within the crease. Each one has his own plan. My strength is to step out and I played accordingly,” the opener said.
For Dhawan, attack is the best form of defence and he went with the flow from the start of the innings.
“I have full faith in my process and if you look at my earlier Test matches in Sri Lanka (barring the odd failure in Cape Town), I play with the same positive mindset. I was in good touch during IPL and wanted to continue with it,” Dhawan said.