Dambulla: Shikhar Dhawan is savouring his purple patch, but the opener has not forgotten the slump which had forced him out of the team, saying failures have taught him important lessons.
Dhawan was dropped after the New Zealand series last year due to a slump in form and came back to the team for the Champions Trophy this year. Since then he has done exceedingly well and he’s keen to continue with his good form.
“It’s a long time (until the next World Cup). I would like to keep performing well. That would be my goal because if I don’t perform, there are such great batsmen in our side that anyone can take my place,” he said after helping India register an easy nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first ODI here last night.
“Failure teaches you a lot and I am lucky I have learnt so much out of that,” he added.
Talking about the slump in form which he had experienced, Dhawan said, “I have already had a slump so I don’t think about it. When it has to come it will come. I embrace that period of slump also.
“When I was not doing well I was just focussing on my processes. And when I am doing well, I am still focussing on my processes. So those things don’t bother me that much,” said Dhawan who hit a fluent unbeaten 132.
In this tour of Sri Lanka, Dhawan has been in red-hot form. Besides the unbeaten ton in the first ODI yesterday, he has hit hundreds in the Galle and Pallekele Tests.
He said he was in similar form during the 2013 Champions Trophy after he scored a majestic maiden Test hundred against Australia.
“When I made a comeback in the ODI side in 2013 Champions Trophy, I was batting this fluently. Even in recent Champions Trophy (2017), I was playing in that flow.
“I would say that I even played like this in my debut Test match against Australia, or like I played in Galle in the first Test here. I am playing quite similarly to those times.
I am trying to keep repeating the same mantra for myself,” said the 31-year-old Delhi batsman.
He said he needs to keep his fitness to a high level to be at par with “all the young boys” in the team.
“I like to keep myself fit at the pace of the game. Apart from that I don’t really too many goals that I have to score these many runs. I just focus on my process including my fitness, skills and fielding,” he said.
Put into bat, Sri Lanka were placed at 150/2 at one stage, but then collapsed to 216 all out with Axar Patel taking career-best 3-34.
Dhawan put on 197 runs for the second wicket with Virat Kohli as India won with 21.1 overs to spare, their biggest margin of victory in terms of balls remaining.
“I really didn’t think about the pitch. I was just watching the ball and playing the ball. And I felt that the pitch was very good, the way Sri Lanka started the innings. I thought they will score 300 runs but they lost lot of wickets in the middle and we dominated the game,” said Dhawan.
He also sympathised with the Sri Lankan team, saying a few comforting words for the rival team, which has failed terribly.
“This is a young Sri Lankan side and they are in transition period where all the boys will mature. In international cricket you need to have that experience. The young boys are good but with time they will get better.
Asked if the Lankan attack led by the ageing Lasith Malinga was the poorest he has faced, the opener didn’t want to use too many “harsh words”.
“Malinga has been a legend for Sri Lankan cricket and he has done great in international cricket in all formats. He is a bit old now and with time I feel that his pace has gone down a bit. That’s why we can attack more as batsmen and that’s what we look at. This is natural because he has played so much cricket. It’s just a cycle, life cycle, that’s what I feel,” said the left-handed opener.
“I don’t use those harsh words. I won’t say they are the worst bowling attack I have faced. The left arm bowler (Vishwa Fernando) bowls decent pace. They have a good fast bowling attack. In Champions Trophy, they even beat us.
“It’s just that we have got a mature side, very experienced side so that plays a huge role because how you handle pressure situations that matters a lot with experience.
So I feel that with time Sri Lankan team will do well,” he added.