Shikhar Dhawan has always had the uncanny knack of producing goods when the chips are down which he attributes to his “big heart” and the “backing” he has got from skipper Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble.
Dhawan scored a polished 84 and is certainly feeling a bit less pressure after there were unconfirmed reports that KL Rahul, with back-to-back half-centuries in practice games will replace him in the playing XI.
“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,” Dhawan told mediapersons after the first day’s play.
“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,” said Dhawan.
“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 added.
The Delhi left-hander was however a touch disappointed that he couldn’t get to a coveted three-figure mark as he was trapped leg-before by leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo.
“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,” he lamented.
“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.”
Dhawan did well to survive the first session when pacer Shannon Gabriel was extracting a lot of bounce from the strip. Along with Cheteshwar Pujara, the southpaw saw off the session adding 60 runs.
“I feel that in the first session the wicket was fresh and the bowling was very good. So I was respecting the good balls and knew that I cannot afford to take a chance because there was extra bounce on the wicket. So I was playing close to my body and was not in a hurry and relaxed at the crease. It helped me later in the innings in both my partnerships with Pujara and Virat,” Dhawan explained.