Perth, Feb 27: Attributing his brilliant World Cup form to a calm mind and hard work, Indian batsman Shikhar Dhawan today said he managed to come out of a lean patch by sticking to his strong work ethic.
Dhawan scored 77 and 137 against Pakistan and South Africa respectively, after poor run of form in the Test and ODI tri-series Down Under. Asked about what's that changed for him at the start of World Cup, the affable opener replied with a smile, "Just staying calm and working hard and keeping my work ethic strong."
"Of course, in international cricket, it's always a learning curve. I enjoy the journey rather than the destination, I think. So I was enjoying that phase of my life too and I learnt a lot," Dhawan said on the eve of the match against UAE at the WACA tomorrow.
The flashy left-hander said he only made a few minor changes to his technique, something which might not even be noticeable to the naked eye.
"I changed a few things, but not anything major. Just a few little things here and there. Maybe, you won't be able to see it. It's that little something. The main thing is to enjoy the batting."
Having been back among runs, Dhawan knows that he will be carrying extra confidence going into next game against UAE although any batsman at the start of an innings is circumspect.
"Yeah, of course, when you play back-to-back good innings, you get that extra confidence or edge when you go into the third innings. I feel it's a very normal thing. Whenever a batsman is going to start his innings, he always feels some hesitation. That's a very natural thing. I feel it all the time. It's a very normal thing."
Just like some of his teammates have said time and again, Dhawan also spoke about the impact that Team Director Ravi Shastri has had on the team.
"Of course, his presence is a big factor for our side. He's always given me lot of confidence, infused positivity, especially when I needed it. Ravi bhai has a strong presence and is one of the central voice of this support staff. If I score runs, it is because of my teammates and the support staff," the Delhi-lad said.
'We've had a few days to relax'
Asked about whether the bounce on offer at the WACA, will help his game, Dhawan answered, "Yeah, you can say that I've gotten used to the bounce finally (laughing)!"
"I have lot of shots and enjoy playing them whenever I get a chance. Whenever I get loose deliveries, I go for my shots. It's good to see it's going the way I want and I'm enjoying it, yeah."
While UAE as opponents are not in the same league as Pakistan or South Africa but that won't changed the intensity as far as Team India is concerned. Will UAE be taken lightly, pat came the reply,
"No, not really. We play the game in the way it has to be played. We are going to play with the same fighting spirit and going to keep the same intensity tomorrow." The opener stressed on how important it is to switch on and switch off in the middle of a big-ticket event.
"We've had a few off days to relax, and it was good to have a few off days and now we are here for practice, so we're going to prepare ourselves for tomorrow and just going to play the game the way we have been playing."
His wife Ayesha is an Australian of Indian origin and Dhawan does spend a lot of time in Melbourne with her and three children, something that he finds fulfilling.
"Australia is a very beautiful country and very systematic. I've got a home here now and my family lives here. So I enjoy coming over here I haven't been able to stay for long periods, though. This is the first game, I've stayed in Australia for such a long time. It's always good to go back home to your family.
"From cricketing point of view, I feel it's one of the best places to play cricket, and I have really enjoyed whatever cricket I have played over here (India and India A)," added Dhawan.
'It's a great feeling to have so many fans here'
Dhawan admitted that he has very little idea about the UAE team and he has not yet done any specific homework on the minnows.
"I haven't watched their videos yet. So once I go back to the hotel after the practice, I'm going to watch a few of their videos. And then maybe I'll give consideration to that thing," he said.
While chief coach Duncan Fletcher is back home in South Africa after a personal tragedy, the opener said that the team would follow the routines set by the Zimbabwean.
"Duncan is our main coach, and we are obviously going to miss his presence inside the dressing room. I assume we're going to do the same routine. Of course, he must have discussed everything with the other support staff. We will follow that routine," he said.
He said that having a large number of Indian fans in Australia does put them in advantageous position.
"It's a great feeling to have so many fans over here. Especially, we saw that in Melbourne in the last game. It was amazing to see so many Indians in MCG ground. It was a great feeling. I really enjoyed playing in front of 86,000 people.
"It gives a very good feeling that our fans followed us here and they gave us so much importance," he concluded.