Out of reckoning for Test cricket for the past two years, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan on Sunday said he has not given up on making a comeback to the Indian team and is looking at the upcoming opportunities to plot his return.
The 34-year-old Dhawan last played a Test against England at The Oval in September 2018.
“I am not a part of the Test team but that does not mean I have given up all hopes of a comeback,” Dhawan told TV channels during an interaction. “Whenever I got an opportunity… like in the Ranji Trophy last year I scored a century, then I made a comeback into the one-day team, if I get an opportunity then why not, of course.”
Dhawan stroked his way to the fastest Test century by a debutant, against Australia in 2013, but has often struggled for consistency in the five-day game. In Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw, the Test team has a number of options at its disposal for the opener’s role, making Dhawan’s case even more difficult.
The left-handed batsman, though, remains optimistic. “I will keep trying my best. The T20 World Cup is there next year, so I need to keep performing, keep myself fit, make runs consistently. If I keep doing these, other things will automatically fall into place.”
Dhawan has so far played 34 Tests and scored 2,315 runs with seven centuries under his belt at an average of 40.61. He remains in the scheme of things in ODIs and T20Is and is gearing up for IPL 2020, to be held in UAE from September 19.
The experienced Dhawan will turn out for Delhi Capitals and spoke about the challenges being faced by the players while staying in a bio-bubble amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are challenges of being in the bubble, you do not meet new people, can’t go to restaurants, we can only go to the designated areas. But our franchise has looked after us, we are living like a family, it depends on the person how he sees the situation,” Dhawan said in a press conference. When asked about Delhi Capitals’ chances this IPL, Dhawan sounded optimistic.
“It’s important we bond together and create that energy. We have a very balanced side and confident we will take the cup.”
He said Shreyas Iyer has been leading the team very well. He also said the inclusion of experienced India players Ajinkya Rahane and R Ashwin will strengthen the outfit.
“Shreyas led the team pretty well last year, this time Ajinkya has come in, Ashwin has come in, they are quite experienced players and I am sure they are going to share their insights.”
Due to less number of venues and pitches, he said the wickets might develop wear and tear sooner rather than later, which will benefit the spinners.
“We have Ashwin, Sandeep, Amit Mishra and Axar (Patel). We bat deep and their experience is a huge advantage for us, but the whole team has to play well to win the tournament.”
Asked if he ever feared of not returning to playing cricket owing to pandemic, Dhawan said, “I have full faith in my body, was never apprehensive about playing. I know I can still get the disease but I can fight it. But we are definitely following the safety guidelines, we have done the COVID test almost almost 8-9 times.
“We have to keep wearing a specific badge, our movements are restricted. It’s a huge thing that the BCCI is able to organise the tournament in this situation.”
Dhawan was also asked about the pros and cons of playing the IPL in the current scenario.
“The advantage of less travelling is that the body will tire less, the recovery will be good. But when a player is faring well or doing badly there will be no outlet as he is not allowed to go outside and divert his mind. We have to be mentally very strong.”