He is known as the India's man for the ICC events. Every time the 'Men in Blue' play an ICC tournament, Shikhar Dhawan undoubtedly steals the show with some quality knocks at the top of the innings. And now, as India gear up to challenge the top teams across the world and lift the coveted 2019 World Cup, Dhawan's role at the top of the order will be all the more crucial.
But then, would it be a deterrent that while he opens with Rohit Sharma in Indian colours, Dhawan has been opening with Prithvi Shaw over the past month and a half in the Indian Premier League for Delhi Capitals? For 'Gabbar', as he is fondly called, it doesn't really matter.
Asked if he has been in touch with his India opening partner Rohit as the World Cup challenge awaits, Dhawan laughs it off and says Rohit isn't his wife that he needs to keep talking to him.
"Baatein karke kya hoga? Woh meri biwi thodi na hain! (Whata's the point in discussing things? Rohit isn't my wife) If you play with someone for years, you'll know him inside out. With Rohit, there's nothing special that we do. It's just the mindset. Even if I bat with Prithvi, the game remains the same. If one person gets going, the other man plays a supporting role," he told IANS.
Asked if the pressure of having had a good run in ICC events can sometimes get to a player,Dhawan's reply was just as crisp as his cover drive.
"Conscious about what? This is my daily job. I make sure my basics are taken care of and I have a clear mind. Sometimes you make runs, sometimes you don't. But I always keep calm and look at the areas where I need to work on and then I go and give it my best shot. I don't believe in worrying too much," he explained.
He definitely doesn't worry much as he managed to quietly hit 521 runs in 16 games for Delhi Capitals with five fifties at the top of the innings, one of the reasons behind DC's success this season. And Dhawan feels the IPL form will keep him in a good stead for the showpiece event. He also feels that switching from the T20 format to the 50-over format will be no big task.
"It has been very positive because if you do well, you gain in momentum. Apart from the IPL, I also had a good series with Australia. There is no issue in changing the format as it is all about the mindset, and changing that takes a minute. We are ready for any challenge that comes our way in the World Cup," he said.
But this is the first time that the Indian bowlers are also being spoken about as many feel that this is the best bowling attack India have produced in a long time. And Dhawan feels that the praise is well deserved.
"We have a very strong bowling attack in Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. This apart, we also have a good bowler in Hardik Pandya. This is a balanced bowling unit and that will definitely help the team. Bumrah is the no.1 bowler at present and then we also have quality spinners. I feel that this team is very well balanced," he said.
Dhawan also feels that the experience of the likes of Virat Kohli, M.S. Dhoni, Rohit and him will also help the team in crunch situations. "When you go into a big ticket tournament, along with talent you also need experience and I feel that this team has the perfect mix with Kohli, Dhoni, Rohit and me being there to guide the youngsters whenever required," he said.