Experience, not adjustment, behind Dhawan’s quick grasp of conditions
Shikhar Dhawan acknowledges the crowd after reaching 5000 ODI runs. (AFP Image)

While New Zealand struggled with the bat against India in the opening one-day in Napier, Shikhar Dhawan made batting look extremely comfortable as his unbeaten 75 guided India smoothly during their chase of 158.

Dhawan returned to the one-day fold during the Australia ODIs following a six-week-long break and even though he scored a duck in the first match, the opener looked good in the next two games before registering his 26th ODI half-century on Wednesday. (ALSO READ: Run-filled Bay Oval not a concern, says Dhawan)

From playing in Australia last week to immediately produce a fifty in India’s first match of the New Zealand tour, Dhawan’s knock looked extremely pleasing on the eyes. Speaking on the eve of the second ODI between the two teams at the Bay Oval on Saturday, the opener credited his experience of playing here in 2014 for helping him make the transition from Australian conditions to the ones in New Zealand.

“I guess Australian and New Zealand conditions are quite similar. I came here few years back as well. With experience, you take things with ease and you know what to do and what not to do,” Dhawan said. “I feel I’m an experienced player now. I back my technique and instincts. I’ve been doing it for 4-5 years now, so it’s just the mental adjustment. Once I get on to the pitch, I know what it’s doing. Then I can plan out there and decide what are the shots to play.”

During his innings in Napier, Dhawan crossed a significant landmark in his career when the left-hander went past 5000 ODI runs, becoming the second-fastest India to the mark behind his captain Virat Kohli. Dhawan drew level with Brian Lara, who in 1997 also got to 5,000 ODI runs in his 118th innings. Overall, three batsmen got to 5,000 runs in fewer innings than Dhawan – South Africa’s Hashim Amla, in 101 back in 2015, Richards in 114 in 1987 and Kohli in 2013.

“It (5000-mark landmark) probably means that I have been performing well and I’m happy about it; very grateful that I’ve achieved the milestone. It’s part of the journey. It’s done now and I’m thankful for it. I look forward to score more runs for my team and do well consistently,” Dhawan said.