Dhawan was out for close to six weeks, forcing him to sit out the first seven games of Sunrisers Hyderabad. The team missed him too, as they managed only one 150-plus total without him. Dhawan’s first game in IPL 2013 came against the Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk. And Dhawan defied the post-injury rustiness to smack a fluent 63 off 45 balls. Sunrisers managed 159.
Although the visitors lost by five wickets, Dhawan’s return to the side and the continuity of his form holds a huge promise for his team. After the match, the flamboyant opening batsman spoke to iplt20.com about how he planned his comeback and how he approaches a T20 game.
Did you really come from an injury layoff? It didn’t seem so from the way you batted?
Of course I came from an injury (laughs). But it was good to have a break. I got fresh and hungrier to bat again. Before coming into this match I was at the NCA (National Cricket Academy) for a weak to 10 days. I practised there and prepared for the match.
How did you approach this innings?
When I started batting in the nets I found that I had the same flow and rhythm that I felt during the Test. So, I just came in keeping in mind how to pace my innings and plan it. I worked on my skills in the nets and decided to plan the rest on the basis of the wicket and the bowling.
Do you change your game a lot going from one format to another? Your strike-rate on your Test debut didn’t say so.
I do change my game a lot. Yes, I did score the fastest century on Test debut but I didn’t plan to do so. It was a lucky day for me and it just happened. But generally when I am playing days of cricket I do go slow. I do prepare very differently for T20 format, mostly suiting to the demands of the game.
Given the form you were in when that injury happened, did the time on the sidelines test your patience a lot?
Yes, it did. I batted so well in my first Test and then to miss out on playing the second one was very tough. But I tend to see things in a positive way. I believe things happen for the better.
R Ashwin was trying a few variations today and you picked one of them well to smash it to the extra-cover boundary. Tell us about it?
I watched the ball coming out of his hand and I knew that he was going to bowl something different. I just waited on it and found it was a leg-spinner. It was pitched in my area and I hit it.
Do you practise the scoop shot a lot in the nets?
Yes, I do. I plan to use it mostly only in the T20 format. In the one-dayers if the situation arises where I have to try something different to create scoring opportunities, I don’t mind using it there too. Today (Thursday) I could feel that I wasn’t able to hit big shots. I didn’t hit a single six. So, I thought instead of wasting the ball I should use the bowler’s pace and sneak in some runs, if not the preferred way, the other way.
When you came back to bat after getting hit, wasn’t it hard to continue in the same vein? You hit four boundaries straight away!
I didn’t think about that, honestly. I was just feeling good that the pain had lessened and I was again ready to go and bat. I’m pretty used to this pain – I keep getting fractures and such injuries. The pain doesn’t take the smile off my face.
What did Dwayne Bravo tell you as he escorted you to the dugout when you retired hurt?
He asked me, ‘Are you okay, bro?’ I told him I’ll have to get myself checked by the physio first. We play against each other but when a player is hurt, we care about each other too and give them a good hug.