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Last Updated : Feb 13, 2019 12:44 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

IPL is the best thing that has happened to Indian cricket: Shikhar Dhawan

On Delhi Capital's current squad, he said it is a very balanced side.

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Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan did not enjoy a particularity great outing against New Zealand in the recently concluded T20I series, managing scores of 29, 30 and 5.

But it hasn't hampered Dhawan's credentials as India's leading opener. He scored 698 runs in 17 innings in 2018 and was the year's leading run scorer in that format.

Last year, the stylish southpaw was traded from IPL franchise Sunriseres Hyderabad to Delhi Capitals.

In an interview to CricketNext, Dhawan spoke on a plethora of subjects.

On his journey in the IPL Dhawan said: "IPL is the best thing that has happened to Indian cricket. The first year I played for Delhi franchise, we had (Glenn) McGrath, AB de Villiers, Viru bhaiya (Virender Sehwag), Shoaib Malik and Daniel Vettori. I shared the dressing room with them and it was a really big deal for me. Just spending time with them was great and that increased my confidence level. I scored 250-odd runs in my debut season."

Dhawan had a short stint with Mumbai Indians after which he moved to Sunriseres Hyderabad. Remembering his Mumbai Indian days and highlighting IPL's role in giving youngsters a proper exposure Dhawan said:

"When I joined Mumbai Indians, I got the chance to open with Sachin paaji (Tendulkar). Even with Deccan Chargers, I played with (Kumar) Sangakkara and when I scored more runs than him, step by step it gave me confidence,"

"That’s why I feel that our youngsters are so confident because they have got big exposure and it helps a lot. They bring that experience in the Indian team like Kuldeep (Yadav) has done as well as (Yuzvendra) Chahal."

On Delhi Capital's current squad, he said:"Delhi Capitals is a very balanced side. Our strength is in all the departments. We have good bowlers like (Kagiso) Rabada, (Trent) Boult and (Chris) Morris — who is a very powerful hitter as well. We have got a strong batting line-up starting from Rishabh (Pant), Prithvi (Shaw), myself, our skipper Shreyas (Iyer) and Colin Munro. In the spin department also we have good bowlers like Sandeep Lamichhane and the experienced Amit Mishra. We have got a very good blend and a great coach in Ricky Ponting. I am sure Ponting will bring a lot to the table.

Right now, I can feel a very good and positive vibe within myself and my team. Change is good and I feel great now."

Dhawan along with his opening partner Rohit Sharma has piled 4,318 runs in 96 innings at an average of 45.45 at top of the order.  Dhawan felt that the two have grown up with time and now know each other's strengths and weaknesses.

"Both of our games have matured with time. The responsibility on our shoulders has also increased. We know how to go about an innings, when to take risk, when not to. We know the pattern of the team. Our strength is that technically also we are strong and game sense is also strong. Rohit has over 200 games now and I have played 125 ODIs, so that also counts a lot. In pressure situations, we don’t panic at all. This patience has come with time," he said.

Dhawan springs to life in ICC events. In the ICC Champions Trophy in June 2013 he blazed away to 363 runs in just five games, including two hundreds. Two years later in the 2015 World Cup the stylish left hander struck  a fluent 72 against arch-rivals Pakistan and a glorious and skillful 137 at the MCG against South Africa.

Naturally, expectations are high from him from the upcoming World Cup. On his preparation for the showpiece event, Dhawan said: "We have played so much in England. There won't be any special preparation. The good thing is that we have a variety of 'throwers' in our team to help out with practice. They are both left-handed and right-handed and throw to speeds up to 150kph. When I prepare in the nets, I go with a plan. "

 
First Published on Feb 13, 2019 12:44 pm
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