Dhawan ready for challenging Chennai track

Shikhar Dhawan smashed a match-winning 92 off 49 balls against Punjab Kings on Sunday and the southpaw said he made a conscious effort to improve his strike rate during the knock.

Dhawan, who smashed back-to-back hundreds in the IPL last season, is no more a certainty in India’s T20 playing XI and is competing for an opening slot alongside Rohit Sharma in the World Cup later this year. 

“It was a conscious effort from my side. I knew I have to improve on that (strike rate). Started taking more risks. Not afraid of changes, always open towards it. Not scared of getting out as well,” said Dhawan, who batted at a strike rate of 187.86, after the six-wicket win over Punjab Kings.

The left-hander said he has also been working on his stroke play. 

“I have worked on a few shots. My slog shot has improved a lot. It was there earlier as well, but now I play it more freely. I’m more relaxed, having played for so many years. I don’t take things for granted.”

He also said that batting second at the Wankhede Stadium becomes easier because of the dew.

“The bounce is true at the Wankhede surface and the ball comes onto the bat. Especially in the second innings, it becomes a lot easier to bat here because of the dew. For my batting style, I enjoy using pace on the ball and against spinners, it is not turning so I can hit my shots,” Dhawan told spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on a video posted on the official website of the IPL.

When asked about sweeping the pacers, Dhawan said: “Once I know that the opposition bowlers are bowling yorkers or wide yorkers, they have set up the field where it is hard to find a boundary on the offside, I try to use the pace and I enjoy doing that. I enjoy playing that cheeky shots, be it sweeps and I practice that in the nets as well.”

Talking about the Chennai wicket, Dhawan said: “It is a nice challenge, what I am seeing on TV is that it is turning a bit in Chennai, I am already preparing for it.”

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