SA v IND 2023-24: “I enjoy playing against pace and bounce,” Sai Sudharsan looking forward to his maiden South Africa tour

Sudharsan has recieved his maiden India call-up for the upcoming ODI series against South Africa.

Sai Sudharsan | GettyThe BCCI selection committee led by Ajit Agarkar on Thursday (November 30) announced India’s multi-format squads for the upcoming tour of South Africa.

While most of the picks were on the expected lines, there was a notable inclusion in the 50-over team. Young batter Sai Sudharsan was named in India’s 16-member squad for the three-match ODI series.

Sudharsan’s stocks are on the rise in 2023 but the maiden India call-up was certainly a surprise for him.

“Actually, we are playing the Vijay Hazare Trophy. So, I was focusing on the tournament and not expecting the India call-up. It was a surprise, but I am really happy,” said Sudharsan, as quoted by Hindustan Times.

The left-hander may not have the experience of playing in South Africa, but he has been in prolific form this year. Some of his notable performances in 2023 include a dazzling knock of 47-ball 96 for Gujarat Titans in the IPL final, a century for India A against Pakistan A in the Emerging Asia Cup and noteworthy contributions for Rest of India in both innings of the Irani Cup fixture against Saurashtra.

Sudharsan has also left a mark in his brief first-class and List A career so far. The 22-year-old has amassed 829 runs in 11 first-class matches at an average of 43.63 with two centuries and three fifties. In 25 List A outings, he has scored 1269 runs at an impressive average of 60.42, including six hundreds and four half-centuries.

“This will be my first time in South Africa. I’ve heard there will be good pace and bounce. I will just get ready for that and hopefully go there and get some volume (of practice). I don’t think there will be too many changes. The only thought I have is to go there and adapt quickly to the conditions. I am excited by the challenge, first to play for the country and then to go for an overseas tour,” Sudharsan said.

“I enjoy playing against pace and bounce. When there is speed, it is thrilling. It’s a joy to bat against that kind of pace because you get a very good feel off the bat.”

Thanks to impressive exploits in 2023, Sai Sudharsan was also roped in by English County Championship side Surrey.

Having played two first-class matches for Surrey, Sudharsan feels the exposure will help him moving forward.

“I got exposed to new conditions, a new culture, a new way of playing,” he said. “It’s a different culture there. Because of exposure to those conditions, batting is also getting better. Those were uncomfortable conditions. Getting used to that was also an interesting thing. The opportunity I got to go there and adapt (in England) will help me in South Africa.”

Now that Sudharsan will be part of the Indian set-up, he has an opportunity to learn from the people he looks up to.

“Getting into the team itself is a big honour. Once I get into the team, I would love to have conversations around cricket, on how the conditions are in South Africa, adapt soon, and obviously contribute for the team,” he said.

“Definitely Virat Kohli has been a hero. There’s KL Rahul too, who will be leading (in ODIs). I would like to have cricketing conversations with him.”


By Salman Anjum - 06 Dec, 2023

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