'Controlled aggression is my mantra'
'I am telling myself to stay at the wicket'
For Shikhar Dhawan, Melbourne is his home ground. Well, almost, because his wife Ayesha is a resident of Melbourne.
Ayesha was at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with their one-year-old son Zoravar. She then waited outside the team hotel, The Langham, for the Indian squad to return. When they finally came back, Dhawan met his family and had a brief private moment with them.
Before the World Cup started, Dhawan had assured his wife that he will get a hundred in the first three matches. He came good on that promise.
"Rohit got out unfortunately. That's when Virat and I decided to stay at the wicket. My main aim was to cut down the strokes and stay at the wicket as much as possible. Even after I got my hundred, my main aim was to stay there as much as possible. Unfortunately I got out in the 44th over," recalled Dhawan.
The left-handed opener lauded the role of his colleagues Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in the two crucial partnerships that he shared with them.
"I must say, the two partnerships with Virat and Jinks (Rahane), was the key factor in us putting up a big score like 307," said Dhawan.
Before the tournament started, Dhawan was almost written off by critics. But in his mind Dhawan felt that he was regaining confidence slowly, but surely. The knock against Pakistan, in Dhawan’s own view turned things around for him.
"The Pakistan match gave me a lot of confidence. I have cut down on my strokes. I am trying to play more in the ‘V’, through mid-off and mid-on, so that I don't get out cheaply. I am telling myself, ‘stay at the wicket’.
"Against South Africa after the 25th over, I told myself, ‘come on, now you have to come out of your shell'. I tried to accelerate my run-rate after that. The initial cautious approach was because we were playing a top side like South Africa," added Dhawan.
But despite the mix of caution and aggression against South Africa, Dhawan has a set mantra for the World Cup.
"At the moment controlled aggression is what I am following. And that is the mantra of the Indian team as well. When we had 307 runs on the board, we decided to attack. I am happy that our bowlers did an excellent job by limiting them to 177," Dhawan said.
Confidence in the Indian camp is now sky high. The side wants to focus on nothing else but being on the winners' podium on March 29 in Melbourne.
"We have won against Pakistan, now against South Africa. We are really kicked to win the trophy. We are really confident," the Delhiite signed off.