ENG series was a completely different challenge, will have to start from scratch against SL, attests Suryakumar Yadav

Suryakumar Yadav, who made a stunning start to his international career, asserted that the England series is now in the past and insisted that, as a batsman, he will have to start from scratch come the Sri Lanka tour. Suryaumar admitted that he’ll be under pressure, but said that he embraces it.

Suryakumar Yadav made his long-awaited international debut against England earlier this year, and his maiden series was nothing short of electrifying. Suryakumar dispatched the first ball he faced in international cricket – off Jofra Archer – for a humongous six, and scored 89 runs off just 48 balls across the two games he batted in the series, including scoring a fifty on debut. The stunning introduction skyrocketed the right-hander’s stocks, to the extent that countless experts touted him to be a regular for the country across formats in white-ball cricket. 

But ahead of the white-ball series against Sri Lanka, the 30-year-old is not getting ahead of himself. Addressing a media conference ahead of the ODI series, Suryakumar stressed that the England series is in the past, and insisted that he will have to start from scratch. 

“The England tour was a completely different challenge. For a batter, every time you go in, you start from scratch. Here too I have to start from zero,” Suryakymar said on Tuesday.

“Both are different series but challenge remains the same: I’ve to go and perform the same way I did. Pressure will be there. If there’s no pressure, there will be no fun. It’s a great challenge and I’m looking forward to it.”

Pressure is not a new phenomenon for Suryakumar, thanks to him having encountered a plethora of life-or-death situations in the Indian Premier League, where he plies his trade for Mumbai Indians. Suryakumar has now featured in the IPL for nine seasons, and the Mumbaikar asserted that the T20 extravaganza has helped him grow and mature as a player.

“Playing in the IPL has been a great learning experience since I’ve been in the set-up. Every year I’ve learnt something different from all my teammates. IPL is a great learning each year. Every year I go into the tournament, I exit it having learned something new. It really helps me wherever I’m playing, regardless of the team or tournament. If you sum it up, it’s a great learning process which has helped me gain a lot of experience,” Suryakumar said. 

In the IPL, Suryakumar not just has learnt how to handle pressure, but also has learnt the art of adapting his game to different conditions, thanks to the diverse nature of the cities in which the matches are played. The visiting Indian side are expected to encounter hot and humid conditions in the Island Nation, but Suryakumar asserted that it won’t be alien to him or the players, due to them having already encountered similar conditions in the IPL. 

“From a conditions point of view we do have played in these (hot and humid) conditions. We do play in Mumbai, Chennai and other conditions where the heat is heavy and humidity is high. Most importantly we have come here 15-20 before the series to get acclimatized to the conditions. We are really doing fine. We played a game yesterday as well. The intra-squad wicket was really good, I hope it stays the same way (chuckles). But on slow wickets, you need to take time and apply and go about your innings. It will be a challenge but I’m really looking forward to it.”

The 30-year-old also further revealed that his Mumbai Indians teammate Hardik Pandya – who did not bowl in the IPL – has been bowling in the nets, terming it a ‘very good sign’. 

“During the IPL he didn’t bowl because team management and Hardik were taking a call. But here in the intra-squad match he did bowl in the nets. He is bowling. It’s his and team management’s call, how they wanna go about it. But yes, he is bowling. And it’s a very good sign.”

The young Indian side that will be taking on Sri Lanka will be coached by Rahul Dravid, who Suryakumar, surprisingly, has not played under. The Mumbai star however admitted that the players are blessed to have a senior figure like Dravid mentoring them, and asserted that he is excited to play under the mentorship of the former Indian skipper.

“It’s a great opportunity for everyone having a tour amidst this situation. It’s a great challenge and responsibility for everyone to come out here and express themselves. It is a great thing to have Rahul sir around. This is my first tour with him but I’ve heard a lot from many players that he is calm and composed when it comes to his role. I’m very excited and looking forward to it.”

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