Dhawan rises from depths

After a modest Test series, opener finds form with a swift fifty

Dhawan rises from depths

Days after Suresh Raina hailed Ravi Shastri’s role as Team Director, Indian batsman Shikhar Dhawan has said that the former captain instilled confidence in the side after the Test debacle.

Relieved after coming good with the bat following a string of poor scores in the Test series and then in the second and third ODIs, Dhawan thanked the support staff of the team and singled out Shastri for giving the team confidence.

“I would like to thank the entire support staff, especially Ravi (Shastri) bhai, who has given us a lot of confidence since he has joined the team. A very big thanks to my family for standing by me,” the left-handed opener told ‘BCCI TV’.

Raina had also credited Shastri for the dramatic turnaround in the team’s fortunes after the second one-dayer.

“Ravi Shastri gave us a lot of confidence. He came in the team meeting and said a few words to the team which were very inspiring. He was also sitting with me in the bus when we were on our way to the stadium and he told me, ‘khadoos khelna hai’ (play a stubborn game),” Raina had said after his match-winning century in the second ODI against England.

Dhawan, who smashed an unbeaten 97 to help India register a series-clinching win against England on Tuesday in the fourth ODI, emphasised that winning the one-day series against England in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup was crucial.

“We are playing the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and six months before that, winning an ODI series in England so comprehensively, is a huge confidence booster. It is all the more special given how we bounced back from the disappointing Test series,” he said.

“What I will take back from here is the way the entire team stuck together despite what we went through. We stood by each other every single moment and helped each other move on. I am proud of these boys,” Dhawan added. 

Dhawan, who had been struggling with his form, said, “Without confidence, I would not have been able to score runs. To be honest, even during the Tests and in the first two ODIs, it wasn’t like I was struggling to put bat on ball. It happens with every batsman; sometimes despite feeling good in the nets, you don’t score runs in the match.”

He credited his return to form to “a few minor changes in my technique”. “I opened up my shoulder a bit due to which the vision of the bowler and his arm improved a lot. It has also led me into playing straighter than before,” he said.

Dhawan was all praise for his opening partner Ajinkya Rahane, who notched up his maiden ODI century, saying their “jugalbandi” in the game on Tuesday was brilliant.

“Ajinkya was in beautiful touch and the way he hit (James) Anderson for those four fours in an over, it released all the pressure. I was not it bad touch myself but my flow wasn’t as good as his. So I kept taking singles at the other end and gave him most of the strike initially. It was the perfect partnership between us. 

Noting that it is important to be patient and keep the belief intact during low phases, Dhawan said, “I didn’t over-think or get too frustrated; I worked hard wholeheartedly and prepared as smartly as I could, and then accepted that this is a bad phase and I have to get through it.”

Acknowledging that tough phases teach a player more than good ones do, Dhawan said, “It’s when the runs are not coming that even the minutest of flaws are viewed under the microscope. You look into your game and try to pick every single thing you can improve about it. At the end of it, you emerge as a better player than you were. For me failure is not a bad thing because it teaches you how to succeed.” 

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