Have got used to the bounce in Australia: Shikhar Dhawan
When India take on the UAE in Perth on Saturday, it will be a classic case of a small nation testing themselves against the might of a veritable cricketing Goliath – India are the defending World Cup champions, and after thumping victories over South Africa and Pakistan, find themselves suddenly being tagged as tournament favourites – but man-in-form Shikhar Dhawan insists they are not going to take UAE lightly.
UAE’s solitary World Cup win came in the 1996 campaign, and the Gulf side are making a return to cricket’s biggest stage after a gap of 19 years.
Dhawan, the Indian opening batsman who seems to have come into form at the perfect time, said: “We need to keep the momentum going. We will approach the match the same way as we have done for the other games. We will play with the same fighting spirit and keep the same intensity.
“You can’t afford to take any side lightly at the international level.”
Ravi’s presence has been invaluable: Dhawan
Dhawan’s match-winning knocks of 73 off 76 balls against Pakistan in Adelaide and a glorious 137 off 146 against the Proteas see him having a current World Cup batting average of 105 and a healthy strike rate of 95. With 210 runs, he is the third-highest scorer in the tournament thus far, behind Chris Gayle(258) and AB de Villiers(217), but has played fewer matches than both of them.
On the turnaround in form, Dhawan said, “The key is to stay calm and work hard. It is natural that your confidence increases when you play two good back-to back knocks. I have now got used to the bounce and enjoy playing my shots.”
“Ravi Shastri’s presence has been invaluable. He gave me support and confidence when I needed it and stood beside me. I think that has helped me return to form.”
India will be without coach Duncan Fletcher for the UAE match, who has been forced to fly home for personal reasons.
“We will all miss Duncan,” said Dhawan, “But we will still do the same routines at training. I am sure he must have discussed these matters with the support staff.”
India have edge because of crowd support: Dhawan
Dhawan, who has a home in Melbourne where he lives with his British-Indian wife and three children, said Australia was one of the best places to play cricket.
“Australia is a beautiful country, but I hardly get time to spend time with my family here. And the support you get from Indian fans at matches is so amazing.
“It is great to play in front of so many people. I am certain we get an edge over other teams because of the support we get.”