Shikhar Dhawan: Want to play as many games as possible ahead of World Cup 2023
- The ODI World Cup 2023 will take place in India next year
- Shikhar Dhawan has been playing for India since 2010
- He is currently a part of India’s touring party in Zimbabwe
Dhawan, who recently captained India in the three-match ODI series in the Caribbean, was initially named captain for the team's Zimbabwe tour as well. However, he had to step aside after regular vice-captain KL Rahul was declared fit for the series in Harare.
"My focus is definitely on next year's 50-overs World Cup and for that, I want to play as many matches as possible for India and do well in them. In between, there is the IPL as well, so I will try to continue to perform there and look to play the domestic one-day and T20 matches and keep myself match-fit and ready," Dhawan told reporters.
The left-handed batsman was the second leading run-scorer in the ODI series against West Indies with 169 runs at an average of 56.
Dhawan, who played a key role in India's triumph in the Champions Trophy 2013 – India's last ICC trophy – said playing in ICC tournaments gives him a "different satisfaction."
"I love playing in ICC tournaments. There is always a different feeling and satisfaction and I have had some very good tournaments in the past. I prepare and approach every tournament exactly the same way.
"Every time I wear the Indian jersey, pressure is always there and the thing is, as an experienced player, I know how to handle pressure. The buzz definitely helps, because it adds motivation to my game. I do not get over-awed by the moment, because my focus, process, and preparation is the same for any tournament I am playing in," added Dhawan in the same interview.
Dhawan, who has now captained India a handful of times, said he "enjoys" mentoring the youngsters in the team.
"Captaining India is always an honour. My approach to captaincy is to be cool and aggressive - aggressive from the inside, and cool on the outside.
I want my team to enjoy themselves on the field, but maintain the intensity during the game and enjoy playing for Team India. I enjoy mentoring the young boys and passing on knowledge and that continues to bring out the leadership qualities in me," the southpaw said further.
Dhawan, who has been playing international cricket since 2010, is in the top 10 leading run-scorers for India in the ODIs. The 36-year-old opening batter is placed 10th in the list with 6,493 runs in 155 ODIs at an average of 45.40. He has recorded 17 centuries and 37 fifties in the 50-over format for India with 143 being his highest score.
The Indian team has reached Harare, where all the three ODIs are scheduled to take place, starting Aug. 18. BCCI has also confirmed that VVS Laxman will be India's head coach for the Zimbabwe tour as there is short turnaround time between the series and the Asia Cup starting on Aug. 27 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).