Sachin’s mantra of enjoying the game helped me: Shikhar Dhawan

Mercurial batsman Shikhar Dhawan first came into prominence in the 2004 Under-19 World Cup, where he became the leading scorer by amassing 505 runs in just 7 matches. Considered to be Team India material from the very beginning, the 24-year-old Delhi opener never seemed to fulfill his enormous promise.

However, over the last couple of years, Shikhar has really done well. He’s been good in the IPL and scored tons of runs for India A on foreign tours. The selectors could not ignore him anymore. When they decided to rest some senior players for the ODIs against Australia, they called up Dhawan to do the national duty.’s Biswajit Jha caught up with the Delhi player immediately after his selection for Team India.

You have been selected in the Team India for the first time. How do you feel?

I really feel ecstatic. It’s a dream come true for me. I have been working so hard for such a long time for this very day.

Were you expecting the call?

After performing well in the domestic circuit, in the IPL and with India A team, I was definitely expecting the call. But I did not expect that I would be included in Team India against Australia.

Now that you are in the team, what are the things you want to achieve?

Now that I have got the opportunity, I want to cement my place in the team. I know that I have got the opportunity because some senior players have been given rest. But whatever opportunity I get, I want to perform well for India.

You are an opener but sometimes you come at Number 3 also. What will be your preferred bating position?
Basically, I am an opener so I always want to open whichever team I play for. But if team requires, I am ready to bat at any position.

Unlike in the past, you have become more consistent nowadays. What is the secret behind the new found consistency?

For the last couple of years, I just concentrated on improving my basics which, I think, helped me in getting a lot of runs. You can’t get success at the international level without being your basics right.

Do you think that it’s due to IPL that you again came to the limelight after the initial success as an Under-19 player?

Definitely. IPL has been a huge platform for every cricketer. We get to play with so many international players. It really helps.

How was the experience of playing under Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai Indians?

He is brilliant both as a player and as a captain. Playing alongside him is a lesson in itself.

What have you learned from him?

Just enjoy the game. It’s his mantra for success. He always tells everyone to enjoy the game. If you enjoy the game, you will automatically do well. So it’s the biggest lesson I have learnt from him apart from technical lessons.

Congratulations for finally getting into Team India...

Thanks mate.