'I feel secure while opening'

'I feel secure while opening'

Lankas Dilshan speaks about the challenges of batting at pole position

'I feel secure while opening'

In 2009, however, the 33-year-old right-hander has been in sensational form, with five Test hundreds, the player of the tournament award in the World T20 and a string of impressive one-day performances.

In this chat, Dilshan reflects on his change in fortunes, and speaks about the joys and challenges of opening the batting in all formats. Excerpts:
On his consistent brilliance since opening the batting: With my attacking style, opening the innings helps me a lot. I opened at the school and club levels but when I came into the national team, there was an established pair in both forms and I had to bat in the middle order. Although a bit late, I think I have got a position where I can be most effective. When I was dropped for the Australian tour in 2007, I told Mahela I could contribute more if I opened in one-dayers. He told me to do so in domestic cricket and in the very first game, I got 188 runs. That start was crucial. The decision to open is the most sensible cricketing one I have made.

On whether he has had to change his technique: I haven’t made any major changes to my approach. I just feel that I have not been under pressure during the last year. I’ve got some security since starting to open. At number six, if you have three or four bad games, the chances of you going out of the side are more. It has happened to me frequently in the last few years. You can get 30 quick runs in a one-dayer but you don’t get highlighted. But when you open, you get highlighted and you have a chance to go on. I wanted to open in ODIs and T20 and play at number six in Tests. But for team balance, an opener was required. They asked me if I would open and I said yes, but give me some time. The captain and the chairman of selectors assured me of a consistent run. I have become a little more patient, I try and play as per the demands of the situation. This series, the remaining games, they are very crucial. They will decide whether I remain a Test opener.

On the risks involved in opening the batting: There is a bit of risk involved. But I have seen fielding sides going on the defensive straightaway when they bowl at me. Instead of setting fields in areas where a batsman can be dismissed, teams want to restrict my shots.

On his goals: I want to be consistent. When the year began, I wanted to score 1,000 runs in both formats. I have scored nearly 970 Test runs, so I am on course. I will set fresh targets next year and see how it goes.

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