Consistency has always been a problem with Shikhar Dhawan since his first-class debut back in 2004 but after his maiden call-up to the Indian Test squad, the Delhi left-hander is determined not to let this chance go abegging.
"I can't blame anyone for not being able to cement my place in the India squad when I was touring West Indies last year. I wasn't consistent enough and that's why couldn't play more than five ODIs. I guess, it's all in the mind and I am not going to let this opportunity go," the 27-year-old said.
Dhawan has played five ODIs scoring 69 runs with a half century that came in the West Indies.
"No excuses for not delivering but pitches in West Indies were extremely slow and the ball wasn't coming onto the bat. I should have scored more runs," Dhawan, who has scored 5679 runs in 81 first-class matches, said.
However, he said that he was expecting a call-up having scored four first-class centuries in his 833 runs this season.
"While going into the Irani Cup, I didn't want to think about selection as I had done in some earlier occasions while playing these kind of games before a team selection.
"I batted freely and should have got a century. But the key to my success this season is my consistency. I have not thrown away after getting into the 30's and 40's."
Dhawan feels that his unbeaten century (110 not out) against England in a practice game also helped his case.
"If you score runs against an international attack, the self belief automatically increases. I didn't face problems facing Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach, Stuart Meaker or James Tredwell. That innings also boosted my confidence a great deal."
During the 2010-11 season, Dhawan had played an irresponsible shot as Delhi were chasing a meager 136 against Railways at Roshnara Club ground and the hosts lost that match.
"I had never faced such criticism as I did after that game. But that dismissal did change my approach towards batting. Therefore it was very satisfying when I anchored the 270-run chase against Maharashtra. I know my game better," the Delhi captain said.
A lot of Dhawan's contemporaries like Suresh Raina have established themselves in one form of the game but the left-hander doesn't have any regrets.
"I have been playing for India 'A' for th past six-seven years but I knew that the senior team was performing brilliantly. If your main team is doing well, you need to learn to wait and I was precisely doing that."
Dhawan, who got married a couple of months back to half Bengali-half-British Esha Mukherjee also credits his family's support.
"Apart from my parents and coach Tarak Sinha, my wife has been a big support and so has been my two daughters. My elder daughter is 11 years old and she told me that 'Papa I am proud of you'. That means the world to me," said Dhawan sounding a content man.
So how much of Bengali has he learnt, he chuckled, "Khub bhalo (very good) and Aami tomake valobashi (I love you) are the two words I have learnt by heart."
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