If I do not perform, any other Indian cricketer can take my place : Shikhar Dhawan

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Shikhar Dhawan is savouring his purple patch, but the opener has not forgotten the slump which had forced him out of the team, saying failures have taught him important lessons.

Dhawan was dropped after the New Zealand series last year due to a slump in form and came back to the team for the Champions Trophy this year. Since then he has done exceedingly well and he’s keen to continue with his good form.

“It’s a long time (until the next World Cup). I would like to keep performing well. That would be my goal because if I don’t perform, there are such great batsmen in our side that anyone can take my place,” he said after helping India register an easy nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first ODI here on Sunday night.

“Failure teaches you a lot and I am lucky I have learnt so much out of that,” he added.

Talking about the slump in form which he had experienced, Dhawan said, “I have already had a slump so I don’t think about it. When it has to come it will come. I embrace that period of slump also.

‘Process is important’

“When I was not doing well I was just focusing on my processes. And when I am doing well, I am still focusing on my processes. So those things don’t bother me that much,” said Dhawan who hit a fluent unbeaten 132. On this tour of Sri Lanka, Dhawan has been in red-hot form. Besides the unbeaten ton in the first ODI on Sunday, he has hit hundreds in the Galle and Pallekele Tests.

He said he was in similar form during the 2013 Champions Trophy after he scored a majestic maiden Test hundred against Australia.

When I made a comeback in the ODI side in 2013 Champions Trophy, I was batting this fluently. Even in the recent Champions Trophy, I was playing in that flow.

“I would say that I even played like this in my debut Test match against Australia, or like I played in Galle in the first Test here. I am playing quite similarly to those times. I am trying to keep repeating the same mantra for myself,” said Delhi batsman. Dhawan, 31, said, it needs to keep his fitness to a high level to be at par with “all the young boys” in the team.

“I like to keep myself fit at the pace of the game. Apart from that I don’t really too many goals that I have to score these many runs. I just focus on my process including my fitness, skills and fielding,” he said.

Sunday special

Put into bat, Sri Lanka were placed at 150 for two at one stage, but then collapsed to 216 all out with Axar Patel taking career-best three for 34.

Dhawan put on 197 runs for the second wicket with Virat Kohli as India won with 21.1 overs to spare, their biggest margin of victory in terms of balls remaining.

“I really didn’t think about the pitch. I was just watching the ball and playing the ball. And I felt that the pitch was very good, the way Lanka started the innings.

I thought they will score 300 runs but they lost lot of wickets in the middle and we dominated the game,” said Dhawan.

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