West Indies vs India 2016: Shikhar Dhawan thanks Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble for backing him
Shikhar Dhawan, whose spot in the Indian Test team was in doubt, thanked captain Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble after scoring 84 in the first innings of the first Test against the West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua. Despite losing his opening partner Murali Vijay early, Dhawan took his time and gave the Indian side a solid start at the top of the order.
Before the start of the Test, there were calls from various quarters for playing the in-form KL Rahul ahead of Dhawan. Rahul was in brilliant form during the Indian Premier League (IPL) and during the tour of Zimbabwe last month. The Karnataka batsman had also scored two fifties in the two warm-up games.
Speaking about the support he received from Kumble and Kohli, Dhawan said: “I feel it is important for any player if the captain and the coach are backing you and it gives a lot of confidence. That's what matters and you also need to have self-belief that you can do that and it is a mixture of everything.”
The 30-year-old spoke about how opening is a tough task with bowlers full of energy, mentioning that he was fortunate to have survived Shannon Gabriel’s spell at the start of the Indian innings.
“Opening is the toughest job and you need a big heart for it, when facing the new ball on a new (fresh) wicket. Bowlers also bowl with full energy and as opener your technique should also be good because you have to leave a lot of balls and you need patience as well.
“The middle order needs it too but a new ball has its own challenge. Vijay got a good ball and it was a very quick ball. I was luckier in that sense as Gabriel was bowling really well,” he said.
Dhawan was left disappointed after falling for 84 when a century looked to be on the cards. While going for a sweep off the bowling of leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, he missed the ball completely and was trapped plumb in front of the stumps.
“I felt disappointed that I got out especially when I was set and scoring runs. I had spent enough time out there in the middle and came so close to scoring a hundred. At the same time, I am happy that I started on a good note and would like to carry on my good performances in coming matches. I want to use the form I am in,” he added.
The Indian opening batsman praised Kohli and said that he enjoys batting with the Indian skipper. Dhawan added 105 runs for the third wicket with Kohli. India’s number four was unbeaten on 143 at the end of day’s play.
“He (Kohli) played a tremendous knock and continued scoring after his hundred. Hopefully he scores big runs and gets a double hundred. It feels good to bat with him and we were rotating the strike and scoring runs at a good pace. I feel that made a difference because we made the partnership very quickly. That is a good thing and it is always a pleasure to watch Virat, the way he times the ball,” Dhawan said.