Chandigarh/Calcutta: Shikhar Dhawan has the gait of a winner. Not just because of his statement-making moustache, but also because he oozes a certain confidence when he steps onto the field and plays those awesome shots.
So it wasn’t surprising when Dhwan came up with a unique answer when, at the media conference on Friday, he was asked when did he think that the mountain of 360 runs could be overhauled during the Jaipur ODI. “…From the time I stepped on to the field,” was Dhawan’s reply.
India chased down a record target in Jaipur, that too with nine wickets in hand and more than six overs to spare. What then made the difference? “Well, the positive mindset… We wanted to play with a positive mind and knew we could achieve the target. Our attitude is that we can chase (any target),” the opener said.
“The captain’s instruction for us was clear… He wanted us to take it ball by ball and not to think too much about the target,” Dhawan added.
But then, Dhawan knows that it was not an ordinary job and so he didn’t forget to thank the almighty. “It wasn’t easy… By the grace of God, we were able to score 360.”
Dhawan is also of the opinion that nowadays, 300-plus targets are not impossible to achieve nowadays. “Not too long ago, 300 used to be seen as a bahut bada total… But now teams get to 300 fairly regularly. So the scenario is the not exactly the same,” he said.
Since the time Dhawan burst onto the scene with a fabulous century against Australia in the Mohali Test, it has turned out to be a terrific 2013 for the batsmen. Across formats, he has simply been unstoppable at times. Asked what has made the difference for him, Dhawan said: “It’s not that I have a different skill set now… Skills are basically the same… The change is in the mind and I’m hungrier now.
“One definite change, however, is that I’m smiling more.”
Elaborating on the mental aspect of his game, Dhawan said: “Yes, I have changed a few things at the nets… I’m more focused, concentrate a lot more, and value my wicket a lot more.”
The first two one-dayers, at Pune and Jaipur, have seen 300-plus totals being put on the board by the team batting first. When questioned, what is the ideal one-day wicket, Dhawan had a pretty simplistic answer: “It’s the one where the bowler gets wickets and the batsman gets runs.”
Many believe that dew will play a crucial role in the third ODI, to be played at Mohali, on Saturday. Dhawan agreed. “Yes, dew would be a factor… Especially, at this time of the year.”
And on the obvious question of the Indians’ problem with the short-pitched stuff, Dhawan said: “We are practising playing short-pitched balls at the nets… It obviously is a part of our preparations. We are aware that somebody like Mitchell Johnson can really let it go… But we are confident of handling it.”