Shikhar Dhawan has the knack of bouncing back just when his detractors write him off and the Indian batsman says he manages to stay afloat in the toughest of times by shutting out the criticism that comes with lean patches.
Without an international hundred for the past six months, Dhawan announced his comeback with a career-best 143 against Australia, albeit in a losing cause, in the fourth one-dayer on Sunday.
Asked how he reacts to criticism, the happy-go-lucky cricketer said living in his own bubble helps him keep it calm in the mind.
“First of all, I don’t read newspapers and I don’t take information which I don’t want to. So I don’t know what’s happening around me and I live in my own world. So, I decide in which direction my thoughts are going,” said the 33-year-old after the match.
The best way to deal with pressure is to keep one’s composure, said Dhawan, who rarely gives away what’s going on in his mind.
“I perform best when I am calm. There’s no point in cribbing or being sad,” said Dhawan.
“When I feel hurt, I move on quickly. And I don’t really know what people are writing. I make sure that I am in a positive frame of mind and keep doing my process,” he added.
Process is a word that almost every Indian cricketer refers to often and mostly without explaining the specifics.
When Dhawan was asked to elaborate his idea of a process, he said: “When I talk to myself, I make sure that I cut down negative thoughts that can creep in.
“I accept the reality and move on. I don’t resist something that’s happening. If it’s going good, then it’s good.”
For the batsman, who has amassed more than five thousand runs in ODIs, there are three things that are paramount.
“If I am doing all my skill work, taking care of my fitness and having the right mindset, then I just sit back and enjoy,” said Dhawan, who has been India’s key player in all the recent multi-nation tournaments.
Dhawan offered a sympathetic view on his junior statemate Rishabh Pant, who had a terrible day behind the stumps. The youngster, who replaced Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the last two games, was shoddy with his glovework and also missed an easy stumping chance.
“Like any other young bloke, you have to give him time too. I mean Dhoni bhai has played so many games and for how many years. You simply can’t compare.
“Yes, had he effected the stumping, may be the game could have changed but then it slipped quickly out of our hands and for that, dew played a big role. That’s what it was,” he signed off.