Dhawan: I don’t think like an international star

Dhawan, who is back in the India limited-overs squad, isn't too fussed with what the critics have to say and is keen to make a comeback into the Test fold.

Dhawan's 2019 has been stop-start due to recurring injuries.   -  AP

Shikhar Dhawan is back playing for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy after a while, but the India opener makes it clear that he is only another Delhi batsman here and no international star as he gears up to face the Hyderabad bowlers in Delhi’s third Ranji Trophy game of the season at the Arun Jaitley Stadium from Wednesday.

Having spent quite a few years as captain of the Delhi team before becoming a India regular, Dhawan will once again wear the skipper’s hat in this game. But for the batsman, it is about sharing his experience with the youngsters in the team.

“I don’t think like an international star. I am very comfortable over here and I will make sure that we work as a team, and share my expertise and knowledge with them so that they are further groomed. If my knowledge benefits a youngster then why not,” he said.

When asked if it bothers him that he is often tagged a white-ball player, Dhawan says that critics are doing a job.

“Critics do their own job and I don’t ever get frustrated by that. If they feel that way, that’s their opinion. In my heart I know that I have given my best. But if my best wasn’t good enough for it, then it’s fine, I accept it. And learn what more I can do better. When I was in England, I couldn’t do well, so accepted it. I went out, not a problem and I will now look to make a comeback,” he said.

Dhawan is keen to be a part of the team across formats.

“I have been out for seven-eight months, and I might be back by the time it is a year. Whether I am in the Test team or not is immaterial. I know what game I have. I have scored runs in international cricket as well. I am happy to come back and play Ranji. My goal remains to play all three formats.

Dhawan had a stellar World Cup before it was cut-short by an injury to his thumb. Photo: AP

 

“I am working on that and even now I passed the fitness test. For the first 20 days I couldn’t walk then I worked on my fitness. I had 27 stitches on my knees and it was a deep cut. I always enjoy challenges as I never shy away from it. I never shy away from my failures and it’s always a learning experience. A learning man is always an earning man,” he laughed.

A knee injury saw him out of the Indian limited-overs team and K.L. Rahul made the most of the opportunity. But Dhawan is happy for the opener.

“This is a fresh start for me. I was hit on the finger, then on the neck, bruised my eye and then 30 stitches on the knee in Gujarat. Good news is New Year is coming. Also this is part and parcel of a sportsman’s life. I am happy that KL has done so well. He has grabbed the opportunity. So I am going to go and express myself,” he explained.

About the knee, he said: “The knee is feeling well as I have passed all the test. The knee has healed well so I am happy to go onto the field now. The start-stop thing doesn’t affect me as I haven’t forgotten how to bat. My class is permanent and I will score runs.”

Workload management is an important issue when it comes to international cricketers and Dhawan feels that it is not fair to expect the cricketers to keep playing non-stop cricket.

“It depends if you have played a series then you need to give him rest so that he remains fresh for the next series. If you look at the big picture, when you play for India, that’s the priority. We are humans and not machine so mentally and physically you need to rest and be fresh. An international player knows his responsibility and how much he can tax his body. There are times you get emotional and play for Delhi and in turn get injured and your India assignment gets hampered,” he pointed out.

Dhawan is keen to force himself into the starting XI on the back of his performances in the Sri Lanka T20s. “This is an important season and will look to do well. If I perform well and do well in T20s against Sri Lanka, then it is the headache of the support staff (team management). It is not my job to select the team. They will do their job and I will do mine. Looking forward to scoring big runs consistently,” he smiled.

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