Shikhar Dhawan
Against South Africa, Shikhar Dhawan hit 79 runs in the first one-day international.

Dhawan’s poor domestic record had been widely discussed, but the 36-year-old responded with a brilliant 79 off 84 balls in the first one-day international against South Africa, albeit in a losing effort.

When things become tough, Shikhar Dhawan says he’s “stronger,” but his clarity and composure are what’s helped him get through it. Since Dhawan is India’s oldest ODI player, much has been made of his mediocrity at home in domestic cricket. However, as has been typical of the 36-year-old batsman, Dhawan returned to form in his favorite blue shirt, scoring an impressive 79 off 84 balls in India’s loss to South Africa in the first ODI.

When asked how he avoids negativity, Dhawan responded, “I don’t listen to the media or read newspapers or watch the news, that way I don’t accept all that knowledge.”

The bad patch hasn’t hit him for the first time, and it won’t be the last, but one must have faith in one’s own ability to get through it.

“As long as I know exactly what I’m playing, I’m able to remain calm and confident. Furthermore, life has its trials and tribulations—everyone goes through them—and this one is no exception, so I’m fine with that. It makes me stronger, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow from it “Dhawan made the comment.

It was Dhawan’s worst run in the Hazare Trophy with a score of 0, 12, 14, 18, and 12 in five List A games.

Even though Dhawan has consistently responded to pleas to drop him with great innings as he did in the first one-day international, he’s always looked like the best batsman in his team.

“Talks about dropping him always come up, and I’m used to them now, so I simply focus on my preparation and the process and let God take care of the rest.

As the flamboyant opening noted, “I know that I’ll do well because of my experience and my self-confidence.”

As he nears the end of his career, he intends to stay as physically fit as possible.

As long as I play cricket, I’ll keep scoring a lot of runs and staying fit and happy,” he stated, aware that he was nearing the conclusion of his professional career.

Middle-overs cricket on this wicket isn’t simple.

As the pitch slowed down in the middle overs, Dhawan’s judgment of his team’s 31-run loss against South Africa was sluggish.

“We got off to a terrific start, thanks in part to a slow surface that offered some turn. As a result, when you’re chasing (about) 300 runs, it’s not simple to play shots when the middle-order comes to bat.

We lost a lot of wickets and that affected us as a team, so that’s what we blamed,” Dhawan said.

Debutants Temba Bavuma (110 not out off 143) and Rassie van der Dussen (129 not out off 96) were lauded by Dhawan as two of South Africa’s best batsmen.

South Africa’s batsmen “batted fairly well” and “took the innings quite deep,” he added when asked what had changed the game.

Younger hitters must adapt their game to meet the needs of the situation.

It is Dhawan’s belief that the likes of Rishabh Pant, the two Iyers – Shreyas and Venkatesh – will gain a better understanding of match conditions as they play more games.

“It’s crucial to keep the team in front and the individual’s game in mind in this (conversation) we’re having.

But at the same time, “how can you build your game so that when a partnership is needed, then it’s necessary, all those things and I feel these become refined with experience and time,” said the Delhi batsman.

He was asked again about the middle order issues, and he responded, “See our thought process as a unit or team is that we are preparing our team for the 2023 World Cup, so there will be few hitches here and there, which is great,” and “we as a team assess how we can improve.”

The absence of Rohit is a consideration.

Dhawan believes the team would be stronger and the middle order will play better cricket once regular white-ball captain Rohit Sharma returns to the mix.

“It’s now clear to everyone that we’ve got this set of people and that they’ll be there, and how they can be developed.

“Rahul’s middle-order will become more solid when Rohit returns since an experienced player will replace him. As a result, the young people who have the opportunity will benefit from it. We’re keeping an eye on the big picture here, “he stated.

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