Opening the innings for Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2018 did wonders for the local lad Suryakumar Yadav. He finally transformed from the small cameo specialist for KKR to the more mature and patient player tasked with giving the MI team good starts.
Now part of the India A squad for the quadrangular series against South Africa A, Australia A, and India B, Suryakumar Yadav believes that opening the innings for MI has made him look at his game in a new light and made him more responsible.
“Before the IPL season, I worked on my batting thinking how I could go about in the middle-order and also, the lower-order if I had to. I have been playing Ranji Trophy and a lot of four-day cricket for the last three to four years. So it was not difficult for me to adapt to the situation but at the same time, it was a great challenge and responsibility opening the innings for a big team like MI. I took it as an opportunity,” he told Sportstar on Monday.
Suryakumar credited the Mumbai T20 League for his preparations for the IPL 2018. “The TML helped a lot as it was the same format that of the IPL and the same venue where I would be playing most of my games for MI. I knew the wickets and the ground pretty well. As the tournament progressed, I kept adapting and went on to play my natural game,” he added.
“After the IPL got over, I took a month’s break. It is important to have an after-cricket time to relax. I was off cricket completely as our season starts around September, and if you are playing all formats and the IPL, the season ends in May, then we don’t have the time to become fresh and start training again. I started training around June 25. I have started batting and working on skills,” said Suryakumar.
Suryakumar is currently training at Zaheer Khan’s fitness center Prosport and in the indoor nets at the Reliance Corporate Park, courtesy of MI.
Suryakumar is studying the anchor’s role in one-dayers. “I am trying to learn how to stretch my innings and stay in the middle as long as possible.”
Suryakumar has put the missed chances of 2012 for an India call-up behind him and is looking to make a fresh bid for the national team.
“The ultimate goal is to play for the country but you also have to be realistic in your goals. You need to keep one step at a time. If you aren’t getting opportunities, it means you need to work harder. If it has to come, it will come eventually and thinking too much won’t help,” he said.