I have become mentally stronger and more consistent, says Shikhar Dhawan

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“I got more hungry for runs”

India opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan has revealed that he has become mentally stronger, more consistent and is showing signs of improved strokeplay over the past year.

“I have been technically sound even three years back but in the last one year I have become mentally strong and have worked on my shot selection, which is much better now,” Dhawan said. “I have matured as a batsman. I am very happy that I have become more consistent.”

In past year, Dhawan has excelled in both Tests and ODIs, and he attributes his newfound passion to the fact that he “got more hungry for runs”.

“I got more hungry for runs,” he said. “I realised that I have the ability to play at the highest level and started to work harder.”

Dhawan recently smashed an unbelievable 248 runs off 150 balls whilst playing for India A against South Africa A in an ODI game, which is the second-highest score by any batsman in List A matches behind former Surrey batsman Alistair Brown, who amassed an incredible 268 against Glamorgan at The Oval on July 19 2002.

“I always dreamt of scoring 200 runs but reaching 248 is a big thing for me and I am extremely thankful to God that I became the second highest scorer in the world,” he said.

Dhawan noted that he was grateful for the opportunity to play in South Africa as it helped him get better acquainted with the conditions he may face when India travel there at the end of the year.

“When you play on foreign pitches, you get used to their conditions,” he said. “In South Africa, bounce and pace was there. I also got to know the conditions like wind speed, etc. So I think that will definitely help me.”

However, the 27-year-old stated that it was crucial India prepare for their tour of South Africa properly since conditions there and at home are like complete opposites.

“The Indian team can do well in South Africa,” he added. “The important thing is how we prepare. We are getting ready for the tour and we are high on confidence. We are a young and a strong side. The fact are we have been doing well as a team in the tournaments on foreign soil makes us more positive. And we are confident of doing well.”

Dhawan also refused to get involved in the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) ongoing feud with Cricket South Africa.

“That’s BCCI’s call,” Dhawan said when asked if he would be upset over the tour potentially being cancelled. “At the end of the day, my job is to play cricket and till the time I am playing against any opposition I am happy.”

While Dhawan might be excelling as an opening batsman right now, he acknowledged the fact that there would always be competition, especially from Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, both of whom are former openers and looking to regain their spots in the national team.

“Competition is always there,” he said. “It depends on how you take it. I just want to concentrate on my own game and try to do well.”

Dhawan also refused to pick a side when asked if Mahendra Singh Dhoni or Virat Kohli was a better captain.

“Dhoni has won so many tournaments for the country,” he said. “He is one of the best captains in the world. Kohli, on the other hand, is young and he has done well in limited chances. There is no comparison between the two.”

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