New Delhi: Opener Shikhar Dhawan has asserted that he can very well take on the fast bowlers but at the same time conceded that he doesn't want to face the innings' first ball whenever a pacer starts the proceedings.
Dhawan was responding to the not-too-flattering recent remarks about him by his opening partner Rohit Sharma and David Warner, his former teammate at Sunrisers Hyderabad.
"No, no I disagree to that. It's not like I don't want to face fast bowlers. Everyone has their views, I am an opening batsman. I have done that role for India for eight years now, so obviously I play the fast bowlers," Dhawan said during an Instagram live session with former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan on Wednesday.
"If I do not face them in the first over, then I eventually do in the second over," he added.
While Dhawan has played many fine innings since making his India debut, it is his opening partner Rohit, who has emerged as the team's batting mainstay alongside captain Virat Kohli.
He was candid about his unwillingness to take strike first up when a speed merchant is operating at the other end, calling it more of a "mental" thing.
"Yes, I do not like taking strike on the first ball of the match and I am honest about it but if any youngster like Prithvi (Shaw) comes in the side and he is not comfortable taking the first ball then obviously I would take the strike.
"But with Rohit, it started in Champions Trophy where I told him to take the strike and that sort of continued as I don't like to change things much," the left-handed batsman said.
The Delhi player said it's a challenge for every opener to stand up to fast bowlers in seaming conditions.
"Of course if we play in England in seaming conditions, it is challenging for everyone, it's not like I don't want to face fast bowlers."
Both Rohit and Dhawan have been opening for India since the Champions Trophy in 2013, before KL Rahul burst on to the scene.
During a recent chat, Warner and Rohit talked about the experience of opening with Dhawan.
"The only time I remember him (Dhawan) taking the first ball was when Harbhajan was bowling," Warner had said.
"He always used to say if there is a left-arm fast bowler then 'you take the strike as I don't want the incoming delivery'."
On his part, Rohit said about Dhawan, "He's an idiot, what can I say. He doesn't like to face the first ball. He likes to take on the spinners, but he does not like to take on the fast bowlers.
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The 34-year-old Ashwin last played white-ball cricket for India in 2017 before being sidelined from one-day cricket following the Champions Trophy.
"A lot of good cricketers think what is good for them because he must have thought for himself. I'm sure he thinks that he may be able to perform better if he keeps away from leadership (in) this T20 (format) or something," Borde said.
Kohli announced the decision to quit T20 captaincy on Twitter, writing that he took the decision after many discussions with the leadership group within the Indian team.