Indian opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan always seems to afford a smile while batting, while fielding and perhaps even in the dressing room. Many would mistake it for casual attitude but he makes sure there’s no room for doubters with his batting.
In the 2019 World Cup after making a century in the game against Australia, Dhawan was forced injured and ruled out of the tournament. A bitter blow for any cricketer, but the Indian batsman revealed he didn’t let himself suffer a lot after the disappointment.
“When I got injured against Australia and was ruled out of the World Cup. It didn’t disturb me a lot. I accepted it,” Dhawan told Indian cricketers Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues in Double Trouble with Smriti and Jemi.
“I work a lot on my emotional health and my processes are strong. I have always healed well from injuries and when I’m doing my rehab or training I always see myself coming back and doing well. I’m always in the happy zone,” he added.
“The more positive my mindset, the better is my recovery,” he continued.
Dhawan had to wait for his international debut despite being a consistent performer in domestic cricket. He played for India A side for over six years before getting a chance in the senior side.
His initial few matches didn’t go as planned as he was dismissed for a duck on his ODI debut. But eventually in 2013 after earning another comeback into the Indian side, he made the place his own.
“I feel that experience of 6-7 years has helped me a lot. There were few moments of frustration but overall I was happy during that time as well. For me, it’s important to be happy,” he said.
“I always felt when my time has to come, it will. Those seven years were fun. I still love playing for Delhi in Ranji Trophy. Whenever I go back it’s a different feeling to play for your own state,” he added.
Dhawan made his Test debut in the very same year and smashed the fastest century by a debutant. He scored 187 off 174 deliveries to set up India’s victory.
“I was delighted after the knock. It took me a few years to cement my place in the ODIs after my debut and I was happy that with the century my place was secured at least for 2-3 matches,” he said.
The Indian opener has an enviable record in the ICC tournaments, but feels he approaches those matches in the same way as he does other games.
“I look at it in the same way, I don’t see it differently. The wickets are better for batting in these tournaments and it suits my batting. But even in bilateral series my focus and my process will be the same,” he said.
“The pressure is more in matches against Pakistan as the atmosphere is such. I remember in 2015 in Adelaide there so many people on the walking bridge one day before the match. Before that match, I wasn’t in great form. When I was walking down, someone from the crowd outside stadium told me that I’ll be back in the hut after making just 15 runs. But then I scored 79 and I was happy,” he added.
With the emergence of KL Rahul, Dhawan has a fight on his hands to keep his place in the Indian side. But like every challenge in his career, he’ll most likely face it with a smile.
Watch the full interview here