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Shikhar Dhawan eager to play in South Africa

Shikhar Dhawan eager to play in South Africa

Shikhar Dhawan had a great start to his Test career after scoring 187 on debut against Australia at Mohali PTI

By Kushan Sarkar

New Delhi: Apr 1, 2013

India‘s new batting sensation Shikhar Dhawan reckons the bouncy tracks in South Africa will suit his style but he will still work on specific batting drills to make the adjustments when the Indian team embarks on a tour of the country at the end of the year.

“It will obviously be a big challenge to perform in South African conditions but I will relish that challenge. I have always loved batting on strips that offer bounce. I enjoy facing the fast bowlers. In fact greater the pace of the bowlers — late 140 kms to early 150 kms — better it is,” Dhawan told PTI in an interview on Monday.

Having scored a magnificent 187 against Australia on debut, the 27-year-old Dhawan feels that there is still some time left to prepare for the South Africa tour.

“It’s in November end, so there is still some time left and a lot of cricket to be played. But we will certainly have to prepare well for the series. There are specific batting drills that I need to practise before I get ready for the challenge,” said Dhawan, who is missing out on the first part of IPL due to fractured knuckle.

“I expect to get fit in another two weeks time and hope to play the IPL from the second phase. Right now, I came to Hyderabad to meet the team but I am flying back to Australia today,” he said.

Dhawan is one Indian batsman who has faced world’s No 1 pacer Dale Steyn in the nets for the last couple of seasons while playing for erstwhile Deccan Chargers but he does not think that it would be a major factor when they square up against each other in the Test series.

“Yes, I have faced Dale a lot in the nets but that won’t be of any consequence when we face him in a match situation. I am confident of doing well but I don’t want to look that far ahead,” the Delhi opener said.

Dhawan’s debut knock has fired the imagination of the fans and expectations have sky-rocketed about a repeat act but the stylish left-hander is very practical about the whole thing.

“My logic is simple. The pitch in Mohali was such where I could play the attacking strokes and score a century which is less than run-a-ball. You play an innings according to the nature of the track. If a certain kind of track demands a different approach, we need to adapt to the conditions,” explained Dhawan.

While handing over the Test cap, Sachin Tendulkar told him to “show some guts” and after he came back conquering the Aussie attack, he got a pat in the back from the legend.

“Sachin paaji said that “We are proud of you.” There couldn’t have been a better compliment. Also, I could see the happiness in the eyes of my teammates which really made me feel special.”

Dhawan agreed that the current phase was a golden period for Delhi cricket.

“We have great players like Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir who have achieved so much for the country. Virat and Ishant have also made their mark and it really inspired me to do well at the top level. Now we also have a few juniors, who are equally talented and can break into the Indian team,” he said.

So how much has life changed post that magical knock? “Earlier, they knew me in India but now even Australian public also recognize me,” said Dhawan, whose wife and two daughters live in Australia.

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