Dubai, November 4
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma may have lost a bit of touch due to an injury-forced absence and Delhi Capitals would look to exploit that when the two teams clash in the IPL qualifier, says opener Shikhar Dhawan.
A left hamstring injury kept Rohit out of action for nearly two weeks before he came back for the game against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday.
“Rohit is a very good player, and he hasn’t played many matches so I am not sure about his touch, and that means we can definitely take advantage of it,” Dhawan said on the eve of first qualifier.
“My best wishes to him, but yes as opponents, we can take advantage of that for sure and make plans accordingly.”
While Rohit has not been picked for Australia tour due to his injury, his long-time national team opening partner wants to carry on with his stellar IPL run when he takes strike Down Under.
“Once you have got good scores, you want to carry that to the next series. I love playing in Australia. It’s a great place to play cricket. The pitches are good and I enjoy playing their bowling,” said Dhawan, who has scored 525 runs in 14 innings so far.
“It will be a special series as Indian team will be playing after a long time. I want to showcase my class,” said Dhawan, who has two hundreds and two fifties in his last five ODI appearances against Australia.
Dhawan backed his under-fire junior opening partner Prithvi Shaw, who has been in wretched form with sequence of low scores (4, 0, 0, 7, 10 and 9) in the last six innings.
“It’s not the first time that this (slump in form) has happened to someone and neither will it be the last. He (Shaw) has to stay calm. It happens to everyone. He has been timing the ball well. He needs to stay positive and believe in his abilities,” said Dhawan.
Dhawan had a lot of praise for another senior Ajinkya Rahane, who calmly anchored the successful chase against RCB allowing the opener to play attacking cricket.
“Ajinkya brings in a lot of stability. That sort of an experience gives an edge to the side and I can play more freely.”
Asked if this is his best season considering the number of runs he scored in the UAE, the answer was laced with humour.
“This is not the first time I have scored 500 runs in IPL. I have been scoring nearly 500 runs for the past few seasons (521 in 2019, 497 in 2018, 479 in 2017, and 501 in 2016). Yes, this is the first season I have had two hundreds and two ducks, which is something new.”
He also hailed coach Ricky Ponting for his inclusive nature. “Having Ricky as coach is a huge advantage. He always backs us with everything, and gives us clarity in difficult situations.
“He is always ready for open chats, he would ask for feedback about the coaching staff also – to get the best out of the team. So he’s got great communication with all of us – not just the playing XI, but everyone, and he’s been really fantastic for us.”
Dhawan does not consider Mumbai Indians as favourites to win qualifier-1 despite two defeats against them in the tournament.
“I don’t think they have an upper hand. We have got a quality team and we know we can beat any team.
“We just have to play good cricket and have to be very clear with our plans. I believe if we manage to do that, we can certainly win,” said Dhawan. PTI