I’m mentally stronger now: Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar DhawanHaving given ample demonstration of his appetite for notching up big scores, India’s batting sensation Shikhar Dhawan said he has become mentally strong, and that his shot selection has got better in the past one year.

“I have been technically sound even three years back but in the last one year I have become mentally strong and have worked on my shot selection, which is much better now. I have matured as a batsman. I am very happy that I have become more consistent,” said Dhawan.

The 27-year-old said in the past one year he realised his potential and worked harder on his batting.

“I got more hungry for runs. I realised that I have the ability to play at the highest level and started to work harder,” Dhawan said at a function organised by RK Global, which appointed the opening batsman as its brand ambassador.

Dhawan, playing for India A in South Africa recently, smashed a blistering 248 off 150 balls against South Africa A, missing out on the world record by just 20 runs.

“I always dreamt of scoring 200 runs but reaching 248 is a big thing for me and I am extremely thankful to God that I became the second highest scorer in the world,” he said.

The opening batsman said the tour has helped him understand the Protean conditions better.

“When you play on foreign pitches, you get used to their condition. In South Africa, bounce and pace was there. I also got to know the conditions like wind speed, etc. So I think that will definitely help me.

Dhawan insisted that the Indian team would do well in upcoming tour to South Africa.

“The Indian team can do well in South Africa. The important thing is how we prepare. We are getting ready for the tour and we are high on confidence. We are a young and a strong side. The fact are we have been doing well as a team in the tournaments on foreign soil makes us more positive. And we are confident of doing well.”

Asked about the Board’s plans to truncate India’s tour to South Africa, Dhawan said, “That’s BCCI’s call. At the end of the day, my job is to play cricket and till the time I am playing against any opposition I am happy.”

With Virender Sehwag working hard to get back into the national reckoning and Gautam Gambhir also playing for Essex to force a comeback, Dhawan might face competition at the top of the order, but the batsman said he was concentrating only on his game.

“Competition is always there. It depends on how you take it. I just want to concentrate on my own game and try to do well,” he pointed out.

Asked who is a better captain, MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli, Dhawan said, “Dhoni has won so many tournaments for the country. He is one of the best captains in the world. Kohli, on the other hand, is young and he has done well in limited chances. There is no comparison between the two.”

Dhawan plays under Kumar Sangakkara in the IPL team Hyderabad Sunrisers but in the upcoming Champions League Twenty20 tournament, the Sri Lankan has chosen to play for his country’s champion T20 side Kandurata.

When Dhawan was asked about it, he said, “Sangakkara is one the world’s greatest captains and it was great to play under him. But now we would like to get him out as soon as possible.”