Team India opener Shikhar Dhawan is all praise for Virat Kohli as the captain has been putting on some extraordinary performances on the field. In an exclusive interview to IndiaTV, Dhawan - a true-blue Delhi 'munda' - has lauded his state teammate and national captain's awe-inspiring 'willpower' to get the job done.
Kohli recently struck three consecutive centuries in a row during the five-match ODI series, making it 38 tons and counting, and becoming the fastest batsman to 10,000 runs in ODI cricket. Dhawan hopes he reaches more heights in his career.
"Hats off to Virat, the kind of focus, determination and willpower he has is unbelievable. I pray to God that he reaches more heights in his career," Dhawan told IndiaTV during the launch of his home decor brand 'DaOne' in Mumbai.
DaOne is the cricketer's first entrepreneurial venture and he has wife Aesha Dhawan as his opening partner.
"It is very close to my heart, a lot of hard work has been done on it not by me alone but also by Aesha. Aesha has an equal share in the brand as mine. It's a home decor business on the online medium. I am hoping to work hard on this too and make it as successful.
Dhawan also thanked his India teammates for their support.
"My teammates from the Indian team has supported me in this venture. I will like to thank them from the bottom of my heart. The things that I have learnt from cricket and its ethics are what I have followed. The support from them gave us a good start and I will pray to God to continue it. Virat supported me and shared his ideas on it," he said.
Coming onto his opening partnership with Rohit Sharma, Dhawan believes that it's imperative to build a base for the team to work upon. The opening pair has been responsible in leading India to victories in the 2018 Asia Cup, which the Men in Blue won for the record 7th time.
"We have been opening innings since the last five years. Rohit has scored some outstanding centuries. It's a good thing for the team that we do good at the top to provide a base for the team which helps the team a lot."
The top-order of Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli has been the opposition's worst nightmare, with the captain leading from the front in terms of hammering, whilst the openers give India the start they require.
"We three are very experienced players doing well and even rest of our players are doing well. So, it is good that we take it from here. We will have ODI series in Australia then the T20s, so it will be good for all the players to play and the more they play it will be helpful for the team."
There have been no complaints about the top-order batsmen, however, it has been the middle-order on which India are still working upon. Ambati Rayudu can be the ray of hope that India have been searching to fill the void in the middle. Dhawan spoke highly of the batsman.
"Recently, Rayudu has come into the team and he is doing well, so our batting strength is increasing every day and in the lower order will perform as we play more. Rishabh is a young player, so he will learn things with time and then we have Dhoni Bhai who has a lot of experience, so it will not be a problem."
After Windies, India have a huge challenge ahead - the tour of Australia. The Kohli-led team are slated to play three T20Is, 4 Tests and three ODIs, respectively.
Dhawan feels that a player needs to have the experience to perform and should go in with a few strategies.
"There we get good bounce and pace that helps in scoring runs. I will try my best to score runs there and do well for the country. If a player played some games at a place then he will get to know about the pitches, it helps in making the strategies so that become handy. If a new player goes there then the experience matters. You can't challenge the experience."
Speaking about the much awaited ODI World Cup in June next year, Dhawan's ambition is simple - to play in it and win it for the country.
"The World Cup is not far away, and the West Indies series is going on, everything is going fine. I will work hard on my skills and fitness. We keep learning whether the going is tough or not. We analyse what can we do better the next time and fit them into our game. And World Cup is my aim. To play in it and win it for the country would be amazing," said Dhawan.
Dhawan, who has been dropped from the Test squad for the Australia series, will play in the Ranji Trophy, representing Delhi. The opener will be a part of the T20I squad against the Aussies and will return once concluded.
"I will try to do things according to the conditions. After the T20s when I come back, then I will play Ranji, there I will try to perform well and you never know when I will get the chance again. If I'm free, then definitely I will play domestic cricket."
Dhawan will be playing in the three-match T20Is against Windies before taking off for Australia.
(With inputs from IndiaTV Sports Correspondent Vaibhav Bhola)