I kept myself quite positive when I was not playing the T20Is, confident enough to perform well in ODIs: Shikhar Dhawan

Ind vs Eng, 1st ODI, India beats England: After registering a 66-run win in the first ODI of the three-match series against England here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, India batsman Shikhar Dhawan on Tuesday said that he always had the belief of performing and it was just about getting a chance to play.

Jonny Bairstow might have played a 94-run knock, but India bowlers came back strongly to hand hosts a 66-run victory in the first ODI. With this win, India went 1-0 up in the three-match series. Both teams will now lock horns in the second ODI on Friday.

Shikhar Dhawan (98) and Virat Kohli (56) might have set the platform at the top, but it was KL Rahul (62*) and Krunal Pandya’s (58*) blitz in the end that propelled India’s score to 317/5. The duo added 111 of their 112 runs in the last nine overs as they sent the English bowlers on a leather hunt.“I kept myself quite positive when I was not playing the T20Is. I was focusing on the process and my fitness, skill work, and mental space-wise, I always keep myself positive. I always try to find good things from a situation and I was working on my batting, I knew if I get an opportunity I will take it,” said Dhawan while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

Answering a question about the approach of Rohit Sharma and him at the start of batting innings, Dhawan said: “It totally depends on the wicket. Today, it was seaming and swinging, so it would not have made any sense if we went hard from the start. So, our plan was to stay at the wicket and respect good deliveries. We knew that we can always catch up. If the wicket would have been more supportive towards batsmen, we would have gone hard.”

“In international cricket, pressure is always there. As an experienced player, I know how to handle pressure. I know what shots to play, we read the wicket nicely and we communicate that, that’s what we did. We are playing for so many years, there is a mental switch and batters know what to do. Rohit and I knew what was our plan. We knew the ball was swinging, when we scored 30-35 runs after the first ten overs, we did not feel any pressure. With experience, you know how to handle things,” he added.When asked about the fearlessness of the young players coming in the side, Dhawan said: “It feels nice to see how confident the youngsters are in our side. They play domestic cricket and IPL, they share the dressing rooms with the big stars in the IPL. It helps them get the confidence of performing in international cricket. The IPL exposure helps and our domestic cricket is quite strong as well.

KL Rahul also returned to form as he played a knock of 62 runs. Talking about Rahul, Dhawan said: “It was great to see Rahul scoring a half-century, we all love watching him play, he is a class player. Three-four bad innings can happen to any player. It is part of the journey, a strong player always stays strong. Krunal and he took us to 300, it was great to watch. We will see him playing more fluently and scoring more runs.”

For the hosts, Prasidh Krishna returned with four wickets while Shardul Thakur took three wickets. England was 135/0 at one stage, but Indian bowlers made a stunning comeback to bundle out England for 251 inside 43 overs.“It was a great team effort. Especially Prasidh, he was bowling with pace and he was rushing the batters. It was great to see, in his first match, everyone feels the pressure. Even Krunal Pandya did well as a debutant. Shardul’s confidence has gone quite up, he is a very smart cricketer and he reads the game quite well. He provided us the breakthrough we required, I feel he is in a great zone and he is enjoying his cricket,” said Dhawan.


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