Watching Sanga bat helped me: Dhawan

DC batsman prepares for IPL 2012 by playing in domestic Twenty20 tournament

Mumbai 25 March 2012
Southpaw Shikhar Dhawan has found the ideal guru in his Deccan Chargers’ captain Kumar Sangakkara. Watching and learning from the elegant Sri Lankan, who is one of the best left-hand batsmen in cricket presently, is the high point for the Delhi lad.

Here, the 26-year-old speaks about sharing the dressing room with senior international players before DC begin their quest to regain the IPL trophy.

Excerpts from Dhawan’s brief chat with

On playing for the Deccan Chargers under Kumar Sangakkara

It is really a great feeling to be part of the Deccan Chargers and I am lucky to play with Kumar Sangakkara. Earlier also I have played with Sachin paaji [Tendulkar] and other senior players, but playing with Sangakara [is special because] he is a left-hander. I have learnt lots of things from him like, the way he plays the game and the way he approaches the game. It is obviously a good feeling to play with all those big players.
On what helped him improve his batting

The way he [Sangakkara] times the ball, that’s the best thing I like about him and that’s what I follow about him, just time the ball rather than hitting the ball really hard. So that works for me too.

On DC pacer Dale Steyn

He is one of the best bowlers in the world and he is a key bowler. And the way he bowls I guess he can get the better of any batsman in the world. When we are playing in the nets he would ask, “what [kind of ball] are you going to play this shot on,” “how will you play this ball,” [...] [discussing with him how to tackle pace bowling] that’s how you learn his moves and that’s how you learn [to bat against fast bowlers]. It helps playing a fast bowler like him.

On DC’s preparation for regaining the IPL trophy

We are going to have a great preparation camp starting from around the 27th [March], and we will be really positive about playing the matches and winning the tournament.

On his form in the current season

It was fine. Won’t say it was great. The season started off really well but didn’t go that well. The touch is really there and I am feeling confident about IPL.

On how playing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy helps prepare for IPL 2012

Match practice is the best practice. But of course, these are big matches for us too. We would like to win the tournament [Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy]. Now we have qualified for the semi-finals. I am looking forward to help my team win and hope to contribute big for the team.

On playing alongside the likes of Virender Sehwag in his previous IPL team the Delhi Daredevils

As time passes, you always learn, you gain experience from each and every team, something from Delhi, my Ranji team [also]. You gain experience from seniors or teammates. When I was playing for DD, I used to talk to AB de Villiers and other seniors players and used to get experience in everything. AB de Villiers is good fielder, so I used to ask him, “What is it that makes you that special?” He told me, “Be attentive and enjoy your fielding as much as you can.” [...] Every year, I am gaining more experience and enjoying the game more. 
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