India opener Shikhar Dhawan talked about playing only one format for India for the past few seasons as his last Test came in 2018 and his last T20I came in 2021. Since then, he has been overlooked for both the formats, while keeping his spot in the ODIs, and even captaining the side numerous times.
Under his captaincy, India won the ODI series in Sri Lanka 2-1 and recently defeated West Indies 3-0 in the 50-over format. He will be seen leading the Men in Blue in a three-match ODI series in Zimbabwe shortly.
The soon-to-be 37-year-old opener has seemingly made peace with only playing one format for India and wants to be an asset for the Indian team rather than a liability.
In an interview with PTI, Dhawan said: "Till the time I am playing for India, I would like to be an asset and not a liability. I am a calm, mature person. The performance is a reflection of my experience. My basics have been pretty strong and I have put in a lot of work to improve my technique. Understanding a format is also very important. I understand the dynamics of the ODI format and that has helped me a lot.”
"I never let this feeling creep into my system that "Oh God, I am playing only one format or I am playing an ODI series after a long time. Will my body respond well to the rigors of international cricket or will it not? Frankly speaking, I don't like entertaining these thoughts. I view it like this. If I am playing a format after a gap of two months or three months, it always gives me a chance to remain fresh and come into battle fully fit, and with enough time to work on my game,” he added.
Dhawan feels that fitness-wise, he is getting better with age.
"I think now, at 36, I am fitter than ever before, and also skill-wise, I have gotten better. Gym sessions, skill sessions, running and yoga, these four things are core aspects of my training," he added.
Dhawan will soon be leading India in an away series in Zimbabwe and is also likely to lead against South Africa at home in October. He completely understands that it is a makeshift role, but the veteran of 155 ODIs with nearly 6500 runs is enjoying every moment of it.
He said: "As a leader, my first instinct is to go with a bowler's plan. I ask them what's the plan and what exactly would they want in the fielding set-up. At the highest level, everyone is a hardcore professional, who is there because they know their job well. As a leader, when you start interacting with players, after a passage of time, you get a fair idea of how they react to situations.”
Shikhar also said that he communicates with fellow opener and regular India captain Rohit Sharma and also Rahul Dravid, the head coach of the team.
"Obviously, I speak to Rohit as he is the main leader. So when it comes to continuity, you need to discuss and consult with him. The team's vision is paramount for all of us. It's always a two-way street between captain and coach, and the same is the case between me and Rahul bhai. Whatever decision is taken is a collective one,” Dhawan said.