I don’t feel odd, I have heard it for 10 years: Dhawan on criticism

Senior opener Shikhar Dhawan says he is not bothered by the criticism or chatter about his form amid stiff competition from younger players, as he has been facing it for the past 10 years.

Considered one of India’s top batters alongside Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the not-too-distant past, Dhawan will lead a side comprising many fringe players in the   three-match ODI series against the West Indies starting here on Friday.

When a scribe asked him on the eve of the tour opener if he finds the criticism odd, Dhawan responded in negative.

“Ajeeb kya lagega, aab toh 10 saal hogaya (I don’t feel odd, I have heard it for 10 years). People keep talking, I keep performing. If I listened to them, I wouldn’t be here.

“I have the experience, so I’m not too worried. As long as I self-analyse and improve, nothing else matters,” Dhawan said.

“I’m a very positive person. For me, positivity is about self-belief and the confidence you take in. I have that since I’ve been playing for so many years. I’m here because I’ve done some good things. That is the positivity I want to pass on to the youngsters.”

Dhawan, who lost his place in the last T20 World Cup side owing to indifferent form, is hoping to re-establish himself in the ODI squad.

With young talents looking to grab their chances, Dhawan will be facing stiff competition from players like Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson.

His Instagram reel featuring head coach Rahul Dravid and other members of the squad has been a big hit, India’s stand-in captain says it is his way of creating a lively dressing-room atmosphere.

“Earlier, we had team dinners. Now, we do reels,” he said at the pre-match press conference.

“We want to create the kind of energy where we put faith in each other to ensure the result takes care of itself. There is pressure in international cricket, sure, but it’s not the kind of pressure that will change my personality or style of play. I have a lot of belief in myself and the team,” he added.