Mount Maunganui (New Zealand): January 25: Opener Shikhar Dhawan on Friday hailed the competition in the Indian team with upcoming openers Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill rising up the ranks pretty fast.
Shaw made his Test debut in October and Gill earned a maiden call-up for the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand.
Both batsmen were part of India’s triumphant campaign in the U-19 Word Cup in New Zealand last year.
“I think the youngsters are maturing really quickly in Indian cricket and that creates a lot of competition in the team, everyone has to be on their toes,” Dhawan said ahead of the second ODI against New Zealand here on Saturday.
“Someone like a Prithvi Shaw, the way he came into the Test team and scored a century and 70 runs against the West Indies, it shows that our bench strength is also very good. So even among the 15 (squad members), we have very high competition.”
On his own form, Dhawan said he is grateful for completing 5000 runs in the last match where the opener struck an unbeaten 75 after enduring a lean run in the ODI series against Australia.
“The milestone (5000 runs) means that I’m playing well and I am grateful for it,” he said.
Did he make any changes to his game from the ODIs in Australia?
“I think Australian and New Zealand conditions are quite similar. I feel that I’m an experienced player now, I came here a few years ago. So you know what to do and what not to do (in New Zealand). I know my technique suits all sorts of wickets, so I just back myself.
“I haven’t worked on any footwork or technique specifically for New Zealand and even if I have, I won’t tell. Once you are experienced, your mind is calm and at ease.”
On his stand with captain Virat Kohli at Napier, he said: “The good thing about batting with Virat is that we rotate the strike very well and that is one thing that keeps up the pressure (on opposition).”
“I like embracing other cultures. The Haka dance is famous in New Zealand and to watch it here, it was a totally different experience and I am very grateful that the locals came and performed the Haka here.
“The entire team enjoyed it, we took their blessings and we hope these blessings will work for us tomorrow,” Dhawan added. (IANS)