Have trusted Rohit bhai’s suggestions blindly, says Suryakumar Yadav

MUMBAI: It’s not often that you see a batsman respond to being struck by a bouncer the very next ball by reverse-scoping the bowler behind the stumps for a six, but then Suryakumar Yadav is batting in a different zone these days. “Abhi nahin toh kabhi nahin” (now or never), is his mantra, which means he takes on someone even with the 150-plus pace of Jofra Archer, with a fearless attitude.
“It was one of the best moments for me. After getting hit, I thought my brain got replaced! Keeping jokes apart, Hardik (Pandya) was at the other end. He was like: ‘Boss, this is the time. Let’s do something different.’ I just asked him, with his experience, what would he (Archer) do with this field. What’s he going to try now? He felt that he may bowl a yorker.’ I was like: ‘let’s get prepared for that. That (reverse scoop) is actually one of the shots which I was practicing during the lockdown back home. Without thinking about anything else, I just tried and executed it worked out really well, and I was really happy about that,” said Yadav in a media interaction on Thursday.
When he plays shots and knocks like these, surely his anticipation of a maiden India call-up must increase manifold. “Firstly, from the team’s point of view, I really feel good that I contributed and we won. Secondly, I felt that I was batting really well in the last two-three games and even during the practice sessions. So, I backed myself. I just thought that this knock was coming, and it had to come, today or tomorrow, but not too late obviously! Since the last two-three years, I’ve been batting really well in white ball tournaments in domestic cricket and in the IPL. So, I’m really looking forward to that break coming up soon.”
After his blazing 47-ball, unbeaten 79 in the last game against the Rajasthan Royals, Irfan Pathan the former India all-rounder tweeted: “It will be very disappointing if @surya_14kumar doesn’t find a place in the Indian team with this kind a form… #wattaplayer.” That thought was echoed by ex-India opener Aakash Chopra, who wrote: “Surya Kumar Yadav for Indian T20 Team #MI.”

Indeed, Yadav has been batting like a dream in white-ball cricket, making his exclusion from the India limited overs squad a mystery to many. In the Vijay Hazare Trophy last year, he cracked 226 runs in eight games at an incredible average of 113.00. In Syed Mushtaq Ali T20, he slammed 392 runs in 11 [email protected], including four fifties. In the Deodhar Trophy, he blasted an unbeaten 72 off just 29 balls for India C against India A.
In recent times, Yadav has admitted to being extremely anxious about the prospect of being picked every time an India team was announced, but having been left disappointed with the inexplicable snub. Even his father looks up the papers the next day to find his name in the picked team, only to be told to ‘wait for the next time’. It’s a ‘mini-tragedy’ Yadav has learnt to cope with.
“I have since the past two or three years matured and know how I want to approach the game. I have realised if I keep running behind the call-up, it will keep going far. I’m just focusing on the process and the result will automatically be taken care of. In the last two or three years, I have been batting well and I know that something good is round the corner,” he said.
Perhaps he needs to be consistent. This was his first fifty in IPL-13, and his overall tally reads 180 runs in six [email protected] “Since yesterday, I’ve just gone through my knock in the last game. I was watching what I did right in that (innings) and what went wrong in the last few games. So, yes, consistency is going to be the key. I will try to do the same things that I did in the last innings,” he analysed.
Having an IPL captain in fellow Mumbaikar Rohit Sharma, who has seen bat for Mumbai in domestic cricket, has helped Yadav no end. It explains why Yadav bats at the crucial No 3 position for MI. “I have trusted Rohit bhai’s suggestions blindly. Every time I meet him or interact with him, I learn something new. He has been brilliant and every time I sit down with him, I try to grasp as much as I can from him as he has done so well in international cricket over the years.
“As I am batting at the top now, he shares the same experience as to what he did. He also explains different situations and what he has gone through (in his career). He has given me certain suggestions and I have tried them since I started batting higher up the order in 2018. He is always there and it is a great feeling to have him around and help us with little things,” said Yadav.
The batsman credited MI’s superb form to a pre-season camp that the team had in Mumbai. “I think the camp in Mumbai was the first thing when it came to preparing to come into the IPL. Players coming in together at that time when there was a crisis around has helped us a lot mentally. So, when we came in, we were already mentally prepared for what is expected of us. The camp was set-up in a way that the conditions were more or less the same to what we have here and that helped us prepare for the conditions. The camp also gave us an idea of what will happen when cricket resumes,” he said.
At the camp, the MI players seem to have prepared themselves to play in front of empty crowds. “They (Rohit, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya) are all mentally strong and I have played domestic cricket with not just Rohit bhai, but also Jasprit when he started. They have also played without crowds in domestic cricket and had a discussion on that also as to how to go about it. During the camp also we spoke about how one needs to focus on their own plans and processes.”

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