Indian opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan feels the Indian young cricketers are maturing very quickly and bringing the high competition within the team.
Prior to the second ODI of the five-match ongoing away ODI series against the hosts New Zealand, Dhawan praised the Indian youngsters. While the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup is just four months away, Dhawan feels there is a high competition within the team.
Dhawan told, “I think the youngsters are maturing really quickly in Indian cricket and that creates a lot of competition in the team, everyone has to be on their toes.
“Someone like a Prithvi Shaw, the way he came into the Test team and scored a century and 70 runs against the West Indies, it shows that our bench strength is also very good. So even among the 15 (squad members), we have very high competition.”
In the first game of the ongoing ODI series at Napier, Dhawan completed his 5,000 ODI and became the second fastest (according to no. of ODI innings) Indian batsman to score 5,000 ODI runs. The left-handed opening batsman guided the side safely after playing an unbeaten knock of 75 runs.
Talking about his 5,000 runs milestone, Dhawan said, “The milestone (5000 runs) means that I’m playing well and I am grateful for it.”
In Australia, Dhawan played well in T20I series as he won the Player of the Series award but failed to play big knocks during the ODI series.
When Dhawan was asked whether he changed his game for the New Zealand tour, he said, “I think Australian and New Zealand conditions are quite similar. I feel that I’m an experienced player now, I came here a few years ago. So you know what to do and what not to do (in New Zealand). I know my technique suits all sorts of wickets, so I just back myself.
“I haven’t worked on any footwork or technique specifically for New Zealand and even if I have, I won’t tell. Once you are experienced, your mind is calm and at ease.”
In the Napier ODI, chasing down the little-revised target of 156 runs in 49 overs, Dhawan guided the team for the victory and his 91-run partnership with the skipper Virat Kohli for the second wicket made it easier.
Talking about his partnership with Kohli, Dhawan said, “The good thing about batting with Virat is that we rotate the strike very well and that is one thing that keeps up the pressure (on opposition).”
While India is set to play the next two ODIs of the series at Bay Oval (Mount Maunganui), they were welcomed with the traditional famous dance – Haka. Dhawan added that the entire team enjoyed it.
He said, “I like embracing other cultures. The Haka dance is famous in New Zealand and to watch it here, it was a totally different experience and I am very grateful that the locals came and performed the Haka here.
“The entire team enjoyed it, we took their blessings and we hope these blessings will work for us tomorrow.”