India’s Suryakumar Yadav, who struck a jaw-dropping 57 on debut, revealed that he knew Archer was going to bowl short first-up, and hence got into position early to play a nonchalant hook. Suryakumar, in the first ball he faced in international cricket, struck a mind-numbing six off Archer.
A half-a-decade-long wait came to an end earlier today as Mumbai’s Suryakumar Yadav finally got to wield his willow in international cricket, but the 30-year-old walked in at a precarious position, with India having lost Rohit Sharma early. However, what followed the very next ball post Rohit’s dismissal brought the whole world to a stand-still as Suryakumar, in his first ever ball in international cricket, hooked Jofra Archer for a humongous six. It was a shot that oozed skill and confidence, and the hit eventually propelled him to hit a 31-ball 57 on debut, which not only helped India level on the series, but also helped him to pocket the Man of the Match award.
Reflecting on his dream start to international cricket, Suryakumar, in the post match press conference, revealed that he had set himself for the hook shot, thanks to having thoroughly studied Archer’s pattern to new batsmen in the past.
“Firstly I’m very happy with how things went. My plans were very clear when I went into bat. I’ve seen him in the last 2-3 seasons now in IPL and I’ve watched all of his international games as well. So whenever a new batter comes in, (I knew) what plans he’ll have,” Suryakumar said in the press conference.
“Obviously I had my own plans as well, when I went into bat. It was a great opportunity for me to bat at No.3 for India. I knew he would come a little short at me so I wanted to execute that (pull shot). I was really happy with how things went.”
It was only an injury to his Mumbai Indians teammate Ishan Kishan that enabled Suryakumar to play in the 4th T20I, and though he was playing his 2nd international game, the right-hander not batting in the 2nd T20I meant that today’s game, for Suryakumar, was a virtual debut. The IPL 2020 breakthrough star admitted that there were butterflies in his stomach, but insisted that he was crystal clear on what he wanted to do, and merely followed the same process he generally follows while playing for Mumbai Indians.
“There were some butterflies. I was very happy also when I came to know that I’m playing and will bat at No.3. So I knew what I had done before - I just followed the same process which I had done for my franchise. I’ve batted at the same number and same situations, so I knew the situation really well. And I also wanted to do the same things I’ve done till date. Didn’t do anything different and went out and expressed myself the way I always do.”
Suryakumar was listed to bat at No.6 in the 2nd T20I - owing to which he never came to bat - but today, surprisingly, the management sent him to bat at No.3. It was a position he excelled in in the IPL, where he played a handful of match-turning knocks for Mumbai to propel them to the title. When asked if No.3 was his favoured batting position, though, the flamboyant right-hander insisted that he is a flexible batsman who is ready to bat anywhere for the side, not really bothered about where he bats.
“I feel in the last 3-4 years I have batted all positions - right from opening till No.7 and No.8. So I’m flexible to batting anywhere. Whenever someone asks me I say the same thing and I’ve said the same thing to the team management as well. I’m really happy that I got an opportunity to bat higher up the order, it was really great,” Suryakumar said.
Things were not so bright for the 30-year-old three months ago as, after being snubbed for the Australia tour, he endured a disaster Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he failed both as a batsman and a captain. However, Suryakumar asserted that, despite the bleak period, he always knew that an opportunity would be in the offing.
“As I’ve always said, the passion for the game has always kept me going. I kept working hard - I knew I had only one option. Like I said, I can only try and control things which are in my control. So I just kept working hard - working on my skills, fitness, whatever areas, whatever boxes I wanted to tick. I knew that when the time is right, the opportunity will come and I will grab it with both hands.”
Suryakumar’s knock was entertainment at its fullest, but the Mumbai batsman perished in a controversial manner, after the third umpire, much to the disappointment of Indian fans, ruled him out despite England’s Dawid Malan visibly grassing the ball at deep fine leg. But Suryakumar asserted that he has no complaints over the dismissal, and claimed that he only focuses on controlling the controllables.
“About the dismissal, I’m not really disappointed. Because few things are not in my control. The things which are in my control, I try and control that. These things are just outside that and I believe it’s not in my hand.”