How much confidence did the 88* against the Delhi Daredevils give you, considering it couldnt have been easy on such slow pitches
Indeed. It was important for me to score runs and provide some impetus upfront and also it was important for us as a team to put up a performance. We havent started off well but it can happen in T20 cricket. Weve got the quality to bounce back.
Unlike with Australia, David Warner is not opening along with you for Hyderabad. Will the team be better off with Shikhar Dhawan at No. 3
I dont think its a problem. Shikhar has played exceptionally well for India in all formats last year. Hes a fantastic batsman and I dont have any problems in opening with him. Warner is batting at No. 3, so in any case hes coming in early.
How well do you and Warner complement each other at the crease
Very well. Weve played a lot of cricket together. In fact, weve been playing together for the last 13-14 years. We know each others game exceedingly well. He, too, is a destructive batsman like me and together we can put any opposition under pressure.
Considering you began as a middle-order batsman, did you find it difficult initially when you were promoted to the openers slot
I adjusted well, because I didnt have to change my natural style. I remained aggressive and have had the licence to play my shots ever since.
Apart from making you a first team regular, how else did that landmark 156 versus England change your life
Its always feels nice to score big in international cricket. I played a couple of good knocks for Australia in ODIs before that as well. But that 156 in Southampton gave me the belief that I can play big innings and make match-winning contributions at the international level. It gave me a lot of confidence.
We have now seen you settle into two formats. Is Test cricket on the cards
Im working very hard to get there. Test cricket is my first choice.
Youve played under both Michael Clarke and George Bailey. How do you compare the two as captains
Both are excellent captains. One thing I love about Michael is the way he creates a relaxed atmosphere in the camp. His method allows you to relax and you hardly feel any pressure. As for George, Im a fan. He always comes up with simple game plans and likes to keep things easy.
How much have you benefited from Darren Lehmanns appointment as coach
Immensely. I had always been on the fringes. He gave me the confidence which helped me reach the next level.
Coming back to the IPL, you played for Delhi and Pune before joining Hyderabad. How would you compare this experience from the previous ones
Here, with the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Im a regular in the playing XI. And when youre assured of a starting berth, you play with confidence and play a lot better.