Shikhar Dhawan 2.0: What's Next for the Southpaw?
Shikhar Dhawan 2.0 

Forget the Cricket World Cup, Shikhar Dhawan’s having the time of his life. In an exclusive interview with Man’s World, the master batter opens about everything that’s happening behind closed doors  

He’s arguably one of the most fearsome opening batters in the world and has played a pivotal role in India’s cricketing success in the last eight years. Yet, Shikhar Dhawan wasn’t included in the Indian squad for the Cricket World Cup. You’d think, then, that the swashbuckling Jat would be having something of a meltdown. But sitting on the balcony of his 21st floor condominium at the opulent DLF Magnolias in Gurgaon, Dhawan is amazingly calm and completely unfazed by all the negative attention.  


In fact, the affable cricketer is quite content with himself, and how his professional life has panned out. Dhawan, who turns 38 in December, understands better than anyone else that his career has entered its twilight. And rather than brooding over it, he has been a vocal supporter of the new talent (even though he still holds the record for the highest score by an Indian on Test debut) that has replaced him. He’s also been indulging in different activities to combat cricket withdrawals.


It starts with a practiced love for spirituality and a strong belief in Sufism that he’s been exercising for a few years. It’s possibly the secret for his forever-smiling persona, while helping him sustain the pressures of the cricketing world. This especially when he was sometimes overlooked for Team India, despite performing well on the domestic front. “At that time also, I was able to handle all the pressure well since listening to Sufi songs taught me to treat success and setbacks in the same manner,” he says. Today, Sufism is a way of life for the southpaw who lives by the philosophy of ‘making the now the primary focus of one’s life.’ 



In an exclusive interview with Man’s World, Dhawan speaks about cricket, life and everything in between.  


What is your current state of mind? 
Shikhar Dhawan (SD): I feel totally blessed with all the abundance around me and that so many of my dreams have come true thanks to the law of Attraction that I have been practicing all these years.  


How do you look back on your career?  
SD: I have been playing cricket for 27 years now and I feel very blessed and [am] thankful for the amazing support and love I got from my family, fans and friends. Whatever I wanted to achieve in cricket I achieved, and I still have a lot of cricket in me as I will be playing the IPL next year.  


Depsite being one of the most experienced players, you were overlooked for the World Cup. How do you feel? 
SD: I’ve gone through a lot in my life, and I’ve learned to cherish and be grateful for everything. I firmly believe that you have to look at things in transition as new things will happen only when old things get over. Now I’m going through the phase where my cricket is coming to an end and a lot of new things are starting. And you need to create space for them. Spirituality has helped in making my level of acceptance very strong and I move on easily now. I don’t feel bogged down with things, rather I dominate the situation with my mental strength. The fact that my name wasn’t there in the World Cup list doesn’t bother me. I believe in the natural process of things and have surrendered my interest knowing that success is certain for me. When you shift your focus from expectations to acceptance, it helps a lot.   


You’ve always been a vocal supporter for younger talent. What do you make of the new guard?  
SD: The younger players today are a lot more confident and are doing amazing work. They have a lot more exposure and the National Cricket Academy is doing some great work with good trainers on board. A lot more domestic cricket is being played now and the IPL too is a huge learning ground. So, whenever there is any transition in the Indian team, then it doesn’t bother anyone too much. Players like Shubhman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ishan Kishan are doing so well, they understand how to handle pressure and how to play in front of a huge audience. I still remember when I had joined the team and was talking to Viru Bhai (Virender Sehwag) one day, he said, ‘You are doing a good job now, so if I fail, then I will be out from the team.’  I loved that attitude of his and have tried to be like that.  


In an earlier interview to Mansworld in 2017, you had hinted on life beyond cricket after being released from the Indian One Day side. Tell us about that.  
SD: Well, that may have been the start of the process, but it’s finally taken shape in the last one year now. I have set up my own business called Da One Sports, besides setting up the Shikhar Dhawan Foundation, a non-profit organization with the core idea of giving back to society for the immense love and affection I have received from across the country. I have also set up the Da One Global Venture fund – a 75-million-dollar fund and deployment for the same is going to start soon. Things are looking good, earlier I was only playing cricket, now I’m also in the business of cricket.  


What will be your main areas of focus as a businessman and investor? 
SD: I plan to explore different verticals under the umbrella of the Da One Group ecosystem, headed by Mr. Amitesh Shah, to engage and keep our members up to speed on the latest trends in the sports and business industry. Da One is constantly looking to innovate in areas like global ventures, sports, hospitality, entertainment and capital. Besides all these, The Shikhar Dhawan Foundation (SDF) will aim to eradicate social issues like hunger and poverty, and boost education, which form the core of our society through special campaigns and collaborative work. More than 25 such campaigns have been successfully executed in the last one year. With a special focus on sports, we have tied up with certain schools to provide proper sports education and coaches right from the grassroot level. I feel extremely happy as we are providing a very professional set up for these youngsters with better coaches who are trained in how to handle kids now as compared to our time when we used to get good beatings too. But things are different now.  


You have talked about manifestation and engraining desires in the subconscious as a constant practice in your life.  
SD: I have strongly believed in the power of manifestation for several years and due to this, I have been able to turn so many of my dreams into reality despite coming from a humble background. That’s why, along with the sports training, we also teach about spirituality and the Law of Attraction to these youngsters so that they may also be able to achieve all their dreams.  


So, where does aiming for a comeback to India’s national roster rank among these newfound priorities for you?  
SD: Honestly, I’m not focusing too much on it. I’m going to be 38 this year, so, even if I had played the World Cup, I would have definitely backed out after that. I just decided to do it some months earlier. After a certain age, your body also starts resisting too much of pressure. I would have played for maximum one more year, so instead of investing in me, it is better that the cricket board focuses on someone younger who still has a lot more years to go. I’ve played consistently for 12 years and I’m happy with the outcome.   



If you could change one thing about your past professionally, what would it be? 


SD: Looking back, I can admit that I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my professional journey, but I don’t want to change anything. If I hadn’t made those mistakes, then how would I have learnt or moved forward? So, I’m actually happy that things happened like that.  


Tell us about some aspects that you’ll take ahead from cricket and employ in your personal life?  
SD: As a sportsperson, we always live on the edge and have no comfort zone. That has made me very strong. When you are a part of the team, you must leave your ego behind. Initially, I used to compete with my teammates and used to feel jealous, too. But then I realised that all this is giving me low vibrations. So, the moment I shifted my focus, my consistency improved. I also became the oldest captain of an IPL team and my relationship with my teammates also improved. I achieved all this by using the Law of Attraction and that’s what I teach youngsters or even my team at home and in office. This is my mantra for life. And all those who are attached to me or are working for me, share the same vision. 


Tell us about your current fitness routine.  
Fitness for me is a way of life. I make sure not to miss my training and go for different workouts, besides horse riding and swimming. On social media, too, I like to tell my fans about the importance of training and about eating good food. I prefer to eat in moderation and do different workouts rather than go for a fad diet.  


What was your strategy in leading a young team as an IPL captain?  
SD: Everybody looks up to the captain as a leader, so I would want to put professionalism mixed with lot of love. When these two things get combined, then it becomes a great force. And that’s what I pass on to my team. Even though we couldn’t qualify last year, we created a very good environment. And since it was the first season for me as a captain in IPL, I learnt a lot about how things function. So next year, I’ll do these things better as a captain and make my team much better.  


You have opened the innings several times in your career with Rohit Sharma. How special was that for you?  
SD: I have enjoyed a special 10-year partnership with Rohit as we were together since Under-19. I can’t forget the amazing innings we played in Cardiff against South Africa in 2013, or even the Asia Cup against Pakistan where we both had made 100 runs each. As for the qualities I admire in Rohit, he’s a gem of a person and a great leader too.    


Do you have any cricket related superstitions? 
SD: Like most cricketers, I must admit that I’m also guilty of following certain superstitions. “Agar bat haath mein set hai, toh phir ussi bat se khelta hoon. Aur phir ek hota hai ki touch karte hue jaata hoon. I didn’t take the strike also because of this superstition only. But if a youngster was not comfortable, then I would take the strike. However, with Rohit, I would always ask him to open.  


Your family and friends must be happy to have you at home.   
SD: I have a close-knit family, but I wasn’t able to spend much time with my parents or sisters earlier. Now, I meet them twice or thrice a week, spend time and even play the card game Seep with my mom. My father runs his own business firm and I do take tips from him on handling certain things. I have also been enjoying travelling to various countries, spending more time with my core group of friends both in Delhi as well as abroad. Things have been quite relaxed since the last one year and now I want to enjoy with my group of friends with whom I know I can be myself totally. As the saying goes, cities don’t create men, men create cities. I’m also excited about two of my friends coming from America to meet me soon. At home also, I prefer chilling more at home with friends, but we do go out to restaurants and clubs, too.   


You did a cameo in DoubleXL. Is acting on the cards? 
SD: That was a fun experience and I enjoyed doing it. If any other opportunity comes to work in Bollywood, then I would love to explore it for sure. I share a good friendship with Akshay Kumar and admire him for his work ethics as well as commitment to fitness too.   



Besides Sufi music, what else do you listen to?  
SD: I have been listening to the remixes of an old Punjabi singer Chamkila ji now. I also enjoy good Bollywood music and listen to Punjabi singers like Karan Aujla. I am very particular about the lyrics of any song that I listen to as I want to avoid anything negative. 


What’s life like presently?  
SD: It’s an amazing, beautiful and blissful life. I do events, give motivational talks, enjoy travelling, spend time with family, friends and my pets too. I have picked up horse riding and even play the flute now and am also picking up a lot of interest in art. So, I have finally been relaxing and chilling after several years and now I’m looking forward to attending Diwali card parties soon.


Shikhar’s selection for 2023 World Cup  


Top 5 Batsmen: 


Henrich Klassen – South Africa 


David Warner – Australia 


Quinton de Kock – South Africa 


Virat Kohli – India 


 Rohit Sharma – India  


Top 5 Bowlers: 


Matt Henry – New Zealand 


Rashid Khan – Afghanistan 


Jasprit Bumrah – India  


Kuldeep Yadav – India 


Adam Zampa – Australia 





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