Shikhar Dhawan was one of the special panelists present at the launch of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 official film, which was hosted by social media giant Meta in Mumbai on Thursday. The exciting film ‘It Takes One Day’ featured some of the cricket’s top talents as well as Bollywood superstar, Shahrukh Khan, who narrated the specially conceptualised CWC23 ‘Navarasa’, showcasing the raw emotions experienced by fans and players.
The 37-year-old India batter has 13 years of international cricket experience, however, his quest for new learnings hasn’t stopped. Expressing his views on the biggest change he has noticed in the way cricket is being played these days, he emphasized on the young generation’s mindset and their ability to express themselves.
“It’s really good to see. Change is the only constant thing in life. You have to adapt with time. It is lovely to see how players have come up with new strategies and new ways of thinking,” said Dhawan at the event as quoted by ICC.
“Even like… we’ve been playing for such a long time, we get so inspired by all the young players when they come up with some new shots, and personally I ask ‘how you played that?'”
Dhawan shared one instance where he tried learning one of Suryakumar Yadav’s shots in the T20 World Cup 2022.
“I was asking SKY, he hits that six and I asked him ‘What do you do, man?’. So he was like, ‘I just bend and I do this’. I said I am going to try that in the nets as well because the more tools you can carry, it gets easier and it’s a wonderful mindset.”
Comparing the times when he started playing cricket to the modern-day approach, Dhawan explained how the mindset of the youngsters has become a game-changer.
“The thought process is getting broader. Earlier our coaches used to tell us to play down the ground, you don’t have to play big shots. So, we were raised with that sort of mindset but now when you see a youngster coming in, they will just go and express themselves.
“So, again, the main point is when I see the younger generation, they express themselves fearlessly. Where else, we also express ourselves but we had that thing because we were mentally trained that we have to play more on the ground but the new generation, they play and they express themselves very nicely and they don’t feel that guilt as well that ‘I got out this way or that way’, so I feel that is the biggest change we have seen and it’s amazing.”
Dhawan, who has represented India in 34 Tests, 167 ODIs, and 68 T20Is with over 10,000 international runs, has a meritorious report card in 50-over global ICC tournaments.
He has featured in the 2013 and 2017 Champions Trophy and the 2015 and 2019 editions of the Cricket World Cup, in these, he has amassed 1,238 runs at 65.15 average, including six centuries.
Having featured in two World Cups, Dhawan spoke about the exhilarating feeling of playing on one of the grandest stages in cricket and what it meant for him as a player.
“It’s a very special feeling when you play in a World Cup and that’s what you prepare for when you are playing bilateral series,” Dhawan said.
“Your main aim in that or when the World Cup is going to come. So we’re maturing ourselves and bilateral series are like a step-by-step [process]. You take small steps to reach the bigger target and of course, it’s a whole different feeling.
“When the first time my name got into the World Cup team I was like ‘alright’ and you say to yourself that ‘history mein naam aagaya hai ki World Cup bhi khele hain’ (It gets mentioned in history that they have also participated in the World Cup). So it is that big [a deal] as a cricketer, and it’s a great feeling. And lots of pressure as well,” he added.
The blockbuster 2023 Cricket World Cup starts with the epic England v New Zealand clash on October 5, with the Final slated to be played on November 19 at cricket’s biggest stadium in Ahmedabad.
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