If I do well in the IPL, I can get into T20 World Cup side: Shikhar Dhawan | Cricket News



The quintessential Punjabi has landed in Punjab. Shikhar Dhawan is looking forward to another IPL. Dhawan knows his batting will be watched by selectors ahead of the T20 World Cup. But he tells TOI getting picked or dropped doesn’t worry him. Excerpts from a chat.
Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians, Deccan Chargers, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Delhi Capitals… and finally the Punjabi lands in Punjab…
Yes. I am happy to be part of Punjab Kings. I am a Punjabi boy, so of course, the connection is already strong. Like Delhi, Punjab is also home. From childhood, I have been fond of Punjabi songs. Being from a Punjabi family, I also speak the language. I believe the connection with the fans is already there. At the same time, it’s a good opportunity for both me and the team to make a strong statement in the IPL. We have a balanced team. We are going to have a great season.


Image credit: Shikhar Dhawan’s Twitter handle
What’s the white-ball perspective you’re carrying right now? We have two very important back-to-back ICC tournaments…
The T20 World Cup is coming. I know that if I do well in the IPL, I can get into the side. I am a very process-driven person. I don’t set goals. Till the time, I am enjoying my game – and when I am saying enjoying my game, I mean from a fitness, game, and mindset perspective – If I am enjoying on all these fronts, it works best for me. And I’m in that space right now. So, I’m making sure my process is very strong, and I automatically achieve all that I need to. I am confident of doing well in the IPL. And if I do that, I will have a chance to make the World Cup squad. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t – time will tell. But I won’t allow any of that to affect my state of mind.
Is it possible for a professional player to keep on performing without thinking about the ‘big picture’?
Yeah, absolutely. Right now, I am not in the T20 side or Test side, but playing the IPL is a great opportunity. I’m earning good money. I have seen the ups and downs, playing for the Indian team these last ten-odd years. There were times I would be desperate when I was about to get out of the side. I used to compete aggressively. But as I have grown, I have let go of many things. I don’t compete with anyone anymore. I’ve stopped chasing. When I began to change my thought-processes, everything around me began to change. I now believe in contribution, not in competition. I believe if I am performing at a good level, things will always come to me. And even if it doesn’t, it’s fine. I see things very differently. When I was in DC, I performed well, and I was the highest run-getter in the team. But I still wasn’t retained. Still, I thought there’s something good in it. If I start to see things negatively then, it will affect me and people around me. I tried understanding that bit about psychology. It has made my life peaceful.
When did that happen to you?
Four, five years back. I was at a high point in my life. I used to wish that whoever is competing with me does well, but I must do better than him. It’s a very common trait. But then I understood, whenever you start competing with someone, the second thing you do is compare. And when you compare, it brings jealousy. So, I went and changed it from competition to contribution. I did those internal changes in my head. So now, I have some sort of clarity, and I am confident about my plan. You can see, I have been so consistent in the past 4-5 years. I am in a very happy space right now and am enjoying my game.


Image credit: Shikhar Dhawan’s Twitter handle
So, for actual fulfillment in a sports person’s career, do you think that you need to reach this kind of space?
Not just in sport, but in life. It is the art of living it. What I was doing first, was ok. I was working on my skill and my fitness, but I wasn’t working on my emotions. Time has taught me to work out the emotional aspect of things. If that clicks, things will follow. Spiritually you get closer to what you’re seeking. When I was young, I used to ask God to give me this or that, I don’t do that anymore. Now I am also full of gratitude, abundance, love because the law of attraction works that way. Mental energy and skill both work together. This is all part of my process now. I am very grateful to cricket as it has brought me everything. I am in love with it but at the same time, I am detached from it. So, whether I am in the team or not, it doesn’t change my state of happiness. Life is much bigger than cricket. There are so many more things in life that we can appreciate. So, enjoy every bit of it. So that is my basic nature now, which I have worked on. That’s why you won’t see me reacting or fighting with someone on the field. I have trained myself in that way.
We have seen videos of you playing the flute. Are you classically trained?
Yes, I am. I have learnt ragas, alankaras. I started five years back.
Why did you start learning?
When we are on tour, we have lots of time on our hands. So, I thought of ways to use that time better. I started falling in love with the flute whenever I had an opportunity to listen to someone playing it. So, I thought why not learn it. This is the age of technology, so I learnt it online. Now I enjoy playing it.
You talk about this calmness in you and yet, the format you’re playing (in IPL) and aspiring for (T20 WC) requires a certain level of madness…
I have a different point of view. You don’t need madness; you just need to be smart. It’s a very strategy-driven format. You have to always calculate in quick succession. You have to understand when to be aggressive and when to hold back. A couple of years ago, the one aspect I knew I had to work on was upping my strike rate. So, in the past two or three seasons, you can see a change in my stats. So, yes, that required ‘madness’ I do carry and very consciously. You don’t want to be a liability on your team. So, I’m doing what’s required and if I get my chances fine. If not, that’s fine too.


Image credit: Shikhar Dhawan’s Twitter handle
What’s the most important aspect of T20 batting – big hitting aside?
You need to know how to hit sixes and fours, but the important bit is to read the game real-time. You need to know who to hit and when to hit.
And then there’s the 2023 50-over World Cup too…
I am looking forward to it as well. The processes are the same. I just have to follow them. There’s nothing new to bring out of the book. I am just going to keep repeating and refining. And I know things will happen. I’ve never chased things in life.
It’s the 50-over format that you really mastered – pacing an innings…
Yes, the 50-over game has been good for me. I have good stats there. However, I have also missed a lot of centuries here. Actually, you get a lot of time in the 50-over format and can also play aggressively. My Test and T20 records are also decent but my One-day records have been better and there are a lot of reasons for it. You need to have great communication with your partner, like I have with Rohit. I think he has mastered the format really well. You see he has turned a lot of 70s and 80s into centuries. That’s what I love about his ODI batting.


Image credit: Shikhar Dhawan’s Twitter handle
Tell us something about Rohit.
He is a gem of a person. He is chilled, relaxed, smart, and very approachable. That last bit (approachable) is his best quality. He reads the game very well. And he may be the captain now, but for those who know him, he’s the same Rohit. He is a very helpful soul. And another good quality in him, even if he has something hard to tell you, he will tell you in a manner that it won’t feel that way once he has.
You’re doing so much good work off the field. Tell us…
I believe a lot in Sevas. So, I am opening a foundation called the Sikhar Dhawan Foundation Pact 11. We are going to collaborate with 11 NGOs and provide them with funding. Through my foundation, I will help other foundations, to cater to education and health care.


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