Shikhar Dhawan on T20 World Cup: My job is to just play well

Updated: Jan 12, 2020, 07:42 IST | SS Ramaswamy | Pune

Practical Shikhar Dhawan says opening slot is not his headache and beyond his control

India opener Shikhar Dhawan en route his 52 against SL at Pune on Friday. Pic /PTI
India opener Shikhar Dhawan en route his 52 against SL at Pune on Friday. Pic /PTI

Pune: There have been battles within battles in Indian cricket, intense rivalry for one vacant spot, over the years.
The current one between senior pro Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, seven years younger to the Delhi fellow-opener, appears to be yet another growing chapter in that long list.

Both are vying for one of the two openers' slots going into the T20 World Cup in Australia in October and both cracked half centuries in the T20 series-ending clash against Sri Lanka at the MCA Stadium in Gahunje here on Friday night to intensify the rivalry.

Karnataka's Rahul has overshadowed Dhawan in the shortest format of the game of late with scores of 62, 11 and 91 in the previous series against the West Indies in December and a quick-fire 45 in Indore in the second T20 International against Sri Lanka on January 7 after the series opener had been washed out by rain at Guwahati. He also made 6, 102 and 77 in the ODIs against the Caribbean outfit to retain his wonderful form in limited overs cricket.

Dhawan, under some sort of pressure and coming into this series after recovering from an injury sustained in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy prior to the Windies series that he missed, had made a more sedate 32 in Indore. Rahul rocketed off in his style on Friday with a flurry of off-side fours and Shikhar got a lucky break when he was dropped at deep square, a difficult chance, when on one before opening out with bottom handed shots to blaze his way to 54 in 36 balls while Rahul scored 52 in the same number of balls.

With Rohit Sharma, rested for the series against Lanka, set to be the number one opener going ahead towards the T20 World Cup event, the second slot is a toss-up between Rahul and Dhawan.

"How tough is this opening slot competition," was the question put to Dhawan in the post match media conference.

"All the three players are doing well. Rohit had an excellent 2019. Rahul has been doing good since one-two months and he is a good player and I have also entered the fray and have done well today," said Dhawan in his reply.

"The fray is heating up but this is not my headache. So I don't think about it, because that thing is not in my hands, it is in my hands to perform and play well and I am happy and satisfied that I got two opportunities and was able to express myself. The rest is up to the coaches and the captain, why should I share their headache," he added.

He also admitted that his left-handedness gave him a clear advantage. "Absolutely, that is advantageous because it disturbs the bowlers' line and length and it has its own impact," was how he put it aptly.

Dhawan said he had prepared well after recovering from his injury by playing in the Ranji Trophy. "It wasn't difficult [to come back] because I knew I was injured and out for a month. And I accepted that I got injured and I couldn't do much about it. I was happy enjoying my time, doing my rehab and focused on training that time and got myself fitter and stronger. Later I prepared myself at the NCA, went and played Ranji Trophy and did very well out there," said the Delhi stalwart who has already played in 61 T20Is and amassed 1588 runs.

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