first_imgIt isn’t easy to escape criticism after a few poor outings for Team India in this age of hashtags and internet trolls. Shikhar Dhawan’s twirled moustaches were an easy target when runs dried up from his blade in the World T20 tournament. They were mounted upside-down in caricatures long before the opener was dropped for the semi-final against the West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. This wasn’t for the first time in his career that Dhawan was facing the heat. And, it isn’t the last time he’s fighting back, trying to silence his critics and raise hopes with some good knocks in the IPL. (Full Coverage|Points Table)    “It is a good feeling now. Personally, I never take much stress if three or four matches don’t go well for me. It bothers other more though, including the media. It’s a part of life, things have to move on. I take it as a normal way,” he tells India Today while relaxing in the Sunrisers’ team hotel in Hyderabad. (Also read: Shikhar Dhawan backs Yuvraj Singh to hit form) Was patient and working hard Halfway through the season nine of the tournament, the left-hander discovered his long-lost form after failing in the first three games. “I am happy that the runs are finally flowing. I was playing quite well before the World T20. Sometimes you don’t score runs in 3-4 matches and that can happen anytime. I don’t find it too big a factor. When I wasn’t doing well even after that, in the first few IPL games this season, then I analyzed my game and went into more details on what changes I can make. I was putting in the effort. I knew that I had it in me to turn around the things. It was not for the first time and it won’t be for the last. So, I am used to it. I was patient and working hard. I knew that I will get runs on the board.”advertisementNot living up to my own expectations hurts me It’s still a long road to recovery ahead for Shikhar with many talented youngsters breathing down his neck, vying for the top slot in the Indian team. The 30-year-old, often praised for having a good head on his shoulders, has done a decent job till now as far as handling pressure is concerned.     “Of course, pressure is there when you continue to fail but not from outside. It is from within because I know my potential and what I can do. So, not performing well makes me feel really bad. After just two bad or good games I am labeled as an in-form or out-of-form batsman by many. I try not to think about it. Everyone has their own way of thinking. I want to do what I am good at. Not living up to my own expectations hurts me more than what anyone says,” says a philosophical Shikhar.Great to have captain’s trust “I feel great that my captain (M S Dhoni) trusted me,” he adds in the same breath. “I have had a few great performances in the past and team also knew about it,” says Shikhar perhaps giving an answer to those who questioned the decision to give him a long rope.Enjoy watching Warner bat Having a swashbuckling opening partner at the other end in IPL this season, who doubles up as an understanding skipper too, is also helping Shikhar at this crucial juncture in his career.   “David Warner is one of the best batsmen in the world. Hats off to him the way he is batting right now. Even I enjoy a lot from the other end when he is hitting those big ones. As a partner, the pressure is off me when he is scoring runs from the end. If I am not able to score freely, Warner’s batting gives me the opportunity to take time and settle down. My performance suffered due to captaincy in IPL but Warner has handled it absolutely well.”Happy for Kohli Another player Shikhar admits he’s in awe of is his Delhi and India teammate Virat Kohli. “Virat is in an amazing form. The way he is batting right now is out of the world. Hats off to him that he is making runs so consistently. I am very happy for him. He really works hard and sincerely, be it on his fitness, skill work or the mental aspect. He covers all aspects so well including his diet. Anybody who does that has to be rewarded. He has now gained so much experience in international cricket. He’s getting better with time,” Shikhar speaks of his West Delhi mate.  advertisementLooking forward to West Indies tour After IPL and a short tour of Zimbabwe, the focus shifts on the longer format with loads of Tests lined up this year starting with a Test series in the Caribbean. “I am really looking forward to the Test tour of the West Indies. I will prepare hard for it. It’s going to be good fun. I always enjoy going to the Caribbean and enjoy their culture and environment. It is going to be challenging. Our Test team is also looking a lot better now and we have given some good performances overseas recently.”Family and cricket are the two most important things Often seen around having fun with his toddler son Zoravar these days, Shikhar religiously follows the bio on his Twitter handle which reads ‘my family and cricket are the two most important things in my life.’ “Yes, having a settled family life and having your wife and kids around makes a huge, huge difference. One gets relaxed immediately after returning to hotel from the stadium. The tension from the ground disappears. It is very necessary to take a fresh mind to the ground the next day and having your family around contributes a lot. It is good to see your children growing.Had a great break with the family on our day off. Zoravar cheered the loudest while the @SunRisers boys & me raced! Shikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) May 4, 2016I love my bonding with them. Just like Warner, who’s also a complete family man, I also feel my energy gets channelized. Wife’s impact on my life is there to be seen. She is part of my journey, this is a partnership,” he says while wrapping up the conversation.last_img

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