Mumbai Indians (MI) star batter Suryakumar Yadav on Friday gave an insight into his gameplay, which makes him one of the most feared, effortless and elegant strikers of the white-ball in the shortest format of the game.
Surya, popularly known as SKY, talked about his self-belief, which keeps him going despite numerous ups and downs in his career.
Suryakumar Yadav had an exclusive interaction with JioCinema, posted ahead of his side's IPL 2023 qualifier 2 match against Gujarat Titans (GT) on Friday. The winner of the match will book a place in the final against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), which will take place on May 28 in Ahmedabad.
Talking about his self-belief that keeps him going through the highs and lows of his life, Suryakumar said, "I have played so much domestic cricket for Mumbai. I have seen a lot of them already. One season was good, then one bad. I practised hard, but the season did not start well. Now at the international level, cricket is the same. The level is different. The one thing I have learnt from domestic cricket and life is that you need balance. You have to stay the same irrespective of your form. You do not have to feel too high when you are doing good, and you do not have to feel too low when you are not scoring runs. If you do so, runs will come sooner or later."
Suryakumar said that he is always excited to bat and prefers boundaries to sixes as a way to reduce pressure on himself and his batting partner.
"I am always excited for batting. I am always ready, waiting in the dugout. People ask me why am I sprinting to the crease sometimes. It is my way of warming up. I just aim to express myself and enjoy my game. If I get to hit a boundary on the first or second ball, I do not leave that opportunity. People say that T20 is about sixes. But during the course of a match, there are a lot of pressure situations. I think of ways to reduce the pressure on me and my partner. Boundaries are a way for me to do so. It is not always sixes, I hit boundaries more. Playing smart game is important," said Suryakumar.
"I always intend to hit fours and sixes. Or else, singles or doubles. It has always been my game. I play according to the field. I am not a power hitter. I cannot hit sixes of 100-120 m. I know where my runs are, they are on the ground. I am clear about this and I back myself no matter what the situation is," the batter concluded his point.
On the most intelligent bowler he has faced, Suryakumar replied it was Rashid Khan for him.
The Afghan T20 superstar plays for defending champions Gujarat Titans and has a total of 25 wickets in 15 matches this season, making him the second-highest wicket-taker of this IPL.
"He (Rashid) knows the shots I can play. During that match (the last time MI and GT came face to face), he told me that he saw one of my shots coming. I am also very clear about what my plans and shots are against him and I back myself. But I will admit it, I cannot read Rashid, since his action is too quick," said Suryakumar about facing Rashid.
The T20 batting star also said that he believes in his instincts and shadow-batting helps him a lot.
"I believe in my instincts. Whenever I am facing a new bowler, I watch his videos. Before the match, I stand at the pitch, have a look at it, and have a look at the dimensions of the ground. I shadow bat and think about where I can score my runs, be it in a short or a small ground. But I am on this mode on-field only. I switch it off when I'm off the field," said Suryakumar.
On what is next for him at this point in his career, Suryakumar said that he aims to sustain himself at the top of the T20I batting charts for a long time.
"My family and coach used to tell me that playing for India is easy, but sustaining yourself in the side for long is difficult. I want to sustain my position at the top of the T20I batting charts for long, doing what I have been doing all this while. When I was not scoring, I told everyone that I would keep following the same things that had given me so many rewards in the last year," said Suryakumar.
Suryakumar is currently the seventh-highest scorer in IPL 2023. In 15 matches, he has scored 544 runs at an average of 41.84 and a strike rate of 183.78. He has scored a century and four half-centuries in the tournament so far, with the best of 103*.
Mumbai Indians Squad: Ishan Kishan(w), Rohit Sharma(c), Cameron Green, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Tim David, Chris Jordan, Hrithik Shokeen, Piyush Chawla, Akash Madhwal, Jason Behrendorff, Nehal Wadhera, Vishnu Vinod, Ramandeep Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Kumar Kartikeya, Riley Meredith, Shams Mulani, Arjun Tendulkar, Duan Jansen, Arshad Khan, Tristan Stubbs, Dewald Brevis, Raghav Goyal
Gujarat Titans Squad: Wriddhiman Saha(w), Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya(c), Vijay Shankar, David Miller, Dasun Shanaka, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Darshan Nalkande, Noor Ahmad, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Sai Sudharsan, Srikar Bharat, Jayant Yadav, Shivam Mavi, Joshua Little, Pradeep Sangwan, Matthew Wade, Abhinav Manohar, Odean Smith, Alzarri Joseph, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Urvil Patel, Yash Dayal. (ANI)