Through a message featuring one prudent piece of advice from his childhood coach, Ramakant Achrekar, legendary Sachin Tendulkar ensured in-form India hopeful Suryakumar Yadav keeps his morale high despite being overlooked for the tour of Australia.
Suryakumar, who batted outstandingly in Mumbai Indians' (MI) eventually successful IPL 2020 campaign in UAE, revealed the message which flashed on his phone a few days after India's white-ball squad to face the arch-rivals was announced.
While many prominent figures in Indian cricket made their displeasure clear publically over Suryakumar's non-selection, Tendulkar made the effort to connect personally with the 30-year-old fellow Mumbaikar.
"If you are honest and sincere to the game, the game will look after you," Tendulkar wrote to Suryakumar, as revealed by the player to Indian Express. "This might well be your final hurdle. Your dream of playing for India is around the corner."
"Stay focused and surrender yourself to cricket. I know you are not one of those who will be disheartened and give it up. Keep going on and give us many more reasons to celebrate."
Suryakumar said Tendulkar's words reassured him exactly what the 'Master Blaster' wanted to convey, that cricket won't let him down.
"He (Tendulkar) made me understand in one single message that this is how it should be. I have been fair to cricket, cricket will be fair to me someday."
"The man, who for 24 years gave reason to the world to celebrate because of his cricket, and has endured several ups and downs in his career, has sent me this lovely message. I don’t think I need to say anything further."
The message from Tendulkar was particularly important for Suryakumar as he was very nervous near the selection and felt his world had come crashing down when being told of another rejection.
"It’s a human tendency that things will keep running in the back of my mind. Thoughts keep on trespassing, reminding me that team selection is around the corner, I have to do well," he said.
Unfortunately, the right-hander didn't bat in the IPL match played just a day before the India selection and had made a duck in the previous outing.
"To it, I thought ke arre yeh kya hogaya? Score laga nahi. On the day of the selection, I pretended to be calm," recalled Suryakumar.
He remembers being short of words and only offering a stare of disappointment in response when Mahela Jayawardena and Zaheer Khan asked whether he is copping well.
"I didn’t go to practice for the next two days. I was completely quiet," he said as the MI team management gave him that much-needed break to overcome the pain inside and focus his energies back on winning the IPL.
Suryakumar made 480 runs at an average of 40 while maintaining a brilliant strike-rate of 145.01 to take MI to their record fifth title in IPL history.