Shikhar Dhawan warmed up for next year’s limited-overs series against Sri Lanka and Australia with a sizzling 137 not out against Hyderabad for Delhi in their Group A Ranji Trophy match on Wednesday. Dhawan struck 19 boundaries and two sixes during his knock on a cold chilly morning at the Arun Jaitley Stadium and felt he was batting in conditions similar to England.

“It was more like English conditions. It’s satisfying to score runs in these conditions. With experience you get idea of what shots to play on what kind of track. The shots that I would have played when I was a 21 or 22 years old, I didn’t play here. I didn’t drive any of those deliveries,” Dhawan, playing his first first-class game in 15 months, said at the end of the day’s play.
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Dhawan was sidelined for the ODI and T20I series against West Indies due to a cut sustained in his left knee. On the eve of the match, Dhawan said he hadn’t forgotten to bat and that he was certain of stamping his class upon his return. Having done the bulk of the scoring to guide Delhi to 269 for 6, the left-hander finished the year 2020 with plenty of confidence.

“I had nothing on my mind. I react to situations. I am a very relaxed person and I don’t make my mind heavy with extra thoughts. The way you guys think, I don’t think like that,” Dhawan, who scored his 30th First-Class century, said.

“Today, I played what we call ‘Box cricket’ which means playing close to your body. I didn’t play most of the deliveries outside the off-stump. Some of our young guys, fiddled with those deliveries. Now this comes with experience. You have a look at the wicket and you know what shots you will play.”

Dhawan, who was on 67, when he was out caught off a no-ball from Ravi Kiran, added 84 runs with Anuj Rawat for the sixth wicket. With the rest of the Delhi batsmen struggling to find their groove, Dhawan kept one end strong and highlighted the importance of senior members of the side frequently talking to youngsters.

“I changed my game (according to situation) because when the left-arm spinner (Mehidy Hasan) was bowling, I was itching to hit him. But looking at the overall situation, I curbed my instincts as there wasn’t much batting left,” he said.

“I try to mix and interact with them at their level. I share my experiences. I talk to the batting unit about what all can be done and Ishant talks to the bowlers. The experience that we have gained in so many years, it’s nice to give it back to the players. If guys benefit from it, it feels great. Now that we have come, the momentum that was needed, we got that.”