Shikhar Dhawan: I haven't forgotten how to bat
Back in the Indian team after recovering from a knee injury, southpaw opener says start-stop scenario doesn't affect him as class is permanent
Fractured finger, swollen neck, bruised eye and gashed knee, Shikhar Dhawan endured a painful 2019 but the India opener is ready to make a "fresh start" reminding one and all that his "class is permanent" and he "hasn't forgotten how to bat". Dhawan, who will be leading Delhi in their Ranji Trophy game against Hyderabad, is back after recovering from a knee injury sustained during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, which required 25 stitches.
While he is back in the Indian team, he knows that the road ahead is a bit tricky with KL Rahul in imperious form in white-ball cricket. "This is a fresh start for me. I was hit on the finger, then on the neck, bruised eye and then stitches on the knee. Good news is New Year is coming. I am happy that KL has done so well. He has grabbed the opportunity. So I am going to go and express myself," Dhawan told reporters after finishing his training session here.
One doesn't have control over injuries but the "happy go lucky" 'Gabbar', as he is fondly called, has never been affected by setbacks. "Injuries are natural. You've got to accept that. It's fine and I don't create a big fuss about it. 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." Dhawan accepts that the Sri Lanka T20 series, from which Rohit Sharma is taking a break, will be important for him as all three (him, Rahul and Rohit) are available against Australia.
"This is an important season. I would like to perform well in the T20s against Sri Lanka but the selection is support staff's (team management) headache. They will do their job and I will do mine. Looking forward to scoring big runs."
Ready for red-ball game
Dhawan, 34, who played the last of his 34 Tests back in September 2018 against England, is playing a red-ball game after a good 15 months. With Rohit and Mayank Agarwal making the Test slots their own and Prithvi Shaw waiting for his next chance, where does Dhawan fit in? "Whether I am in 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. I have grown from the Ranji level and can't be better that I am back here and also imparting knowledge to other kids."
Getting into the Test team will be a challenge but Dhawan says emphatically that he has never "shied away from challenges". "My goal remains to play all three formats. I am working on that and even now when I passed the fitness test, the first 20 days I couldn't walk. Then I worked on my fitness. It was a deep cut. "So, I always enjoy challenges as I never shy away from them. I never shy away from my failures as well. It's always a learning experience. And as they say, 'A learning man is always an earning man',"
Dhawan said. His dry patches in international cricket have often invited criticism but Dhawan is hardly perturbed.
'I never get frustrated'
"Critics do their own job and I don't ever get frustrated by that. If they feel that way, that's their opinion what can I do. In my heart I know that I have given my best. But if my best wasn't good enough for it, it's fine, I accept it," he said.
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