New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Wellington February 13, 2014

'Calmer' Dhawan ready for Wellington


Shikhar Dhawan became only the fourth India opener to make a second-innings century and though the visitors lost the Auckland Test, Dhawan's performance was a definite positive. He admitted it was a crucial knock - he was quiet on his first overseas Test tour in South Africa and went for a duck in the first innings in Auckland - but added that these were early days in his international career.

"It was very important for me to get big scores and it boosted my confidence," Dhawan said. "When I started playing for India I scored centuries in England too (in the Champions Trophy). It is not that I did not score centuries overseas. This is my second (Test) series outside India. I have not played much of Test cricket for India. It has been a learning process for me. And I learn from my mistakes and analyse what I can do to become a better player. I have been working hard and got rewarded with a century so I am happy with that."

Dhawan attributed his success in Auckland to a change in mindset. "I was calmer and just thought to play as straight as possible," he said. "The wickets here are double-paced, especially with the short balls and all this stuff. I planned to play straight and just enjoy being at the wicket and enjoy my time over there. Their pacers have been bowling good line and length. You have to play straight and close to your body. The ball swings at the start. You don't get too many runs at the start. You have to be extra patient over here and once you get set you can get big runs."

The runs were not coming for Dhawan during the one-dayers, and he was left of the side for the fourth ODI in Hamilton. MS Dhoni had said that was done so that Dhawan could return with a clear mind and the batsman concurred the break had helped. "Whenever you get rest, it is good. You can sit and analyse what was going wrong. You are getting a break from the match pressure and you can think what you can do better. I was relaxed and I came back. So it was good."

Going into the Wellington Test, Dhawan asked for more leeway for his team with its inexperienced batting line-up. "We have been doing well. Unfortunately, we are ending up on the losing side. It is a new team, young players who have got five-six matches under their belt. Of course, it takes a bit of time. We fought back nicely in the last Test and we batted really nicely even in the last innings. There are a lot of positives to take from the last match and it is building our confidence and our strength."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on February 13, 2014, 21:22 GMT

    @InsideHedge: Indeed there is fine line between Success & Failure. You gave a good example of catch missed resulted in a century for Dhawan. You can extend this example further to NZ batsmen. Had Williamson's catch been taken by Vijay in slips & McCullum's fly ball caught by Dhawan, NZ would have been dismissed <250 in the first innings. In such a case India would have needed just 120 in the 4th innings to Win. But what really counts what was actually done on the field. "Catches win matches" - but if they are not taken you Lose matches too. Winners are always those who can exploit the missed chances by opposition to its Ebb! NZ did this more effectively & Won the First test.

  • Ashok on February 13, 2014, 21:12 GMT

    Dhawan has been getting out going after the short pitched balls or poking at the balls outside the off stump. In the first Test second innings he left them severely alone thru' patience & good discipline. This enabled him to get a century in a key role. He should continue to be patient & disciplined & follow the same approach. If Indian players watched the replays, they would have noticed that NZ bowlers focussed 70% of the balls - wide of the off stump. The LH seamers were bowling consistently across the body - some balls ending up nearly at first slip when WK collects it. India could have frustrated the bowlers by leaving them, instead the Indian bats went after these balls & gifted wickets to NZ - 2 glaring examples- Pujara in the first innings & Kohli in the second. Just be patient- runs will come. This is not an ODI but a 5 day Test match. Indian team is far superior to NZ if only they are disciplined. In Test matches that is #1 essential priority. Patience WINS - NOT the S/R!

  • Jay on February 13, 2014, 20:02 GMT

    @Rudy17: Comments such as yours are now old school. It's getting boring, try something new next time. As if NZ players all have excellent records in India ! We know how poor NZ are outside NZ. Sure, overseas performances from Indian batsmen are necessary but that's not how cricket is played or understood. Home performances do count as well and India are fabulous at home. They are indeed trying to do well overseas which is commendable. Shikhar is a good player and I am sure he is learning a lot with every game. It's only been 1 year since he made his debut so I would give him another 1 year to establish himself as a solid opener. This recent hundred will give him immense confidence going forward.

  • Jay on February 13, 2014, 19:58 GMT

    @ InsideHedge: Why is it that whenever any Indian players give an interview, you people start to attack them ? Is it a crime for Indian players to speak ? The other day I heard a Kiwi - Mitch McCleneghan speak a lot, yet I didn't hear any Kiwi supporter put him down. What was Shikhar supposed to do here ? He was asked for an interview and he obliged. Had he declined, he would have been vilified. I don't have any problems with our players speaking their minds out as long as they back it up on field. Dhawan was only speaking the truth here. Our team has been competitive but unfortunate to lose the first test, thanks to poor umpiring. I am sure they are working hard to win this next test. As fans, we need to be patient and keep supporting them no matter what.

  • Friend on February 13, 2014, 19:43 GMT

    Dhawan is a fine young cricketer. In fact, I would rank him as the best young opener in the world right now. He is sure to strike fear in opposition bowlers in the future ala Sehwag. Like Sehwag, if Dhawan gets going, the opposition has no chance. He failed in SA and that was unexpected but, as he says, he is young, this is a young team. Give them time and watch them do wonders. You cannot expect them to win every game, even SA doesn't win every game. Watch them thrash NZ in this game and Eng in the summer. Dhawan is key and I think the pitches and conditions (not to mention, the English medium pacers:-)) in England will be to his liking:-) This young Indian team is sure gonna rock the cricket world soon.

  • Sanjay on February 13, 2014, 18:34 GMT

    It's a fine line between success and failure at this level. Had McCullum taken the catch early in Dhawan's century effort, the headlines would be very, very different. In fact, I'm sure he would have been dropped for the Wellington Test.

    Therefore, the smart thing for Dhawan would have been to have kept a low profile. In this modern age, both the journos and the fans are always waiting for an opportunity to take pot shots. The time for making big statements is post retirement!

  • Jay on February 13, 2014, 18:26 GMT

    If there is one thing Indian fans need to learn, it is PATIENCE. Our team is young, inexperienced but are still being competitive. The ICC rankings have no bearing here and I feel NZ played the better cricket in their own conditions to win the first test. India are definitely learning with every game. I know it's frustrating to see yet another overseas loss but that's how it is. It will only improve if the BCCI invest their 'riches' into the 'A' team program and prepare fringe players by making them tour countries like SA, AUS, ENG, and NZ a lot more regularly. As it stands now, our team is a good one. We need to sort out a few positions according to the pitch conditions. The biggest problem has been MS Dhoni, he lacks the intelligence to captain in test cricket. Anyway, good luck to Team India. They should play without pressure and enjoy their game and then the victories will come.

  • Rudesh on February 13, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    Dhawan scored hundred to keep his place for rest of the year. Let's see if he can perform in overseas consistently.

  • Pradeep on February 13, 2014, 16:28 GMT

    Couldn't say anything but you have to do what happen in your way go merry go again the same cherrys hit in one innings and fail for another 5 innings jaddu is ok put back pandey in place for zaheer and change rohit place for rahane and vice versa or even jaddu up the order

  • Dummy4 on February 13, 2014, 15:08 GMT

    We fans need to have patience. The good old "Fab Fours" performed MUCH WORSE in their earlier years, even while batting together in overseas internationals, than these "Fresh Fives". They also took longer time and many more matches, before they could fight back. And, win. And, earn the fame.

    From the top six, at least five will survive as the core of Indian batting for future. I don't want to start an unnecessary debate, by stating which one of the six will not be in the "Future Fives" --though I do have a view. Such a debate will be very wrong, when we are facing a crucial test in one of the most hostile conditions within the next 24 hours.

    "Anything, they bowl short, we will hit" was a publically made statement just before the first test. And, during the test, many tried to do the same. Just count, how many wickets were lost, by executing that bravado-statement.

    Dear Indian batsmen: Play like good Test players; not like IPL players! (Though many of you are excellent IPL players)

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