In an exclusive interview with PTI,’SKY‘ talked about his journey to the top of the T20 rankings, his focus on this year’s ODI World Cup, his ambition to wear the white Indian team and how his wife Devisha became a driving force. behind the cricketer and who he is today.
If a year ago you were told that you would be number 1 in the world. 1 player in T20 format, do you believe it?
It still feels like a dream. Recognized and called the world’s number 1 T20 smasher, if someone had told me a year ago, I don’t know how I would have reacted. When I started playing this format, I wanted to be the best and I worked hard for it.
The priority in 2023 will be the ODI World Cup and does that mean you’ll change your game to the 50-a-boo format?
I don’t like to think too much when playing any format. Because I like this game, whenever I go to bat, I put on a show. What I’ve always dreamed of and envisioned is that whenever I join, I want to be a game changer. I always enjoy hitting the ball whether it’s T20Is, ODI or Ranji Trophy.
If I can do what my team wants me to do with 40-50 balls, why should I hit 100 balls?
Suryakumar Yadav (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Would you like the chance to make it into the Indian team in the series of 4 Tests against Australia?
I started playing national level cricket by age with the red ball, so the answer lies there. There are a lot of difficult but fascinating situations that you face in five days and you want to take that challenge. Yes, I am available if they (India team manager) need me.
Skills can be taught but how to train one’s mind to deal with pressure at the highest level?
I would say it is never impossible but it is certainly very difficult. It needs a smart approach. Instead of training more on quantity, I practice more on quality. My family and I had to make a lot of sacrifices. Before my India debut, I played first class cricket for 10 years.
Grind it in first class level, you learn a lot of tricks in trading. So when you graduate at the international level and play different pitchers, all you need to do is show yourself off.
But let me tell you this. If you have passed the domestic stage in India, you are ready for international cricket and when you start that level you do not have to carry any baggage. Just do what you did at the domestic level.
You were the captain of Emerging Team (U-23) India almost a decade ago. Over the years, while performing at the national and IPL levels, were you nervous or angry at not being called up to the national team?
I won’t say I’m pissed but I’ll always think about how different I can be to take it to the next level. So the hard work continues and you also need to enjoy the game.
That’s why you started playing cricket. Whether it’s a simple workout or even healthy treats that I didn’t enjoy earlier, I started enjoying it. I knew that if I stopped thinking about the results and just focused on the process, one day I would go bankrupt.
Your friend Sufiyan Sheikh says that sometimes you don’t wear thigh pads even in the face of the fastest pitchers. Is it correct and what is the reason for it?
At World T20 in Australia I wore thigh pads because it was my first time touring the country and it was not a good idea (not wearing them) on those races with that speed and bounce. . But yeah, on low-bounce Indian tracks, if I had the feeling that wearing a thigh pad would get in the way of me playing the shots I love, I wouldn’t wear it.
Can you explain to us a little bit about your 360 degree technique?
That is an interesting story. During my school and college days, I played a lot of rubber ball cricket. On hard cement rails and on rainy days those balls will fly from 15 yards and most of them are thrown (thrown) very hard. Now the rubber ball from 15 yards will have more than 140 clicks and if the line on the foot side is 95 yards, the touchline will only be 25-30 yards.
So, to prevent out of position borders, most of them will butt into me to prevent me from easily getting out of position borders. So my wrist maneuvering, playing pull-ups and uppercuts have come from those games.
I never tried those in the grid. In the net, I like to practice normally and listen to the bat hitting the ball. If I feel good, I go out.
What kind of bonds do you share with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma?
I am really lucky to share the dressing room with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. They are another breed of international cricketers. What they have achieved, I don’t know when I will be able to achieve it.
Recently, I have had some good partnerships with Virat bhai and I enjoyed hitting the ball with him. Rohit is like a brother and my sound board. When I was in doubt, I asked him direct questions about my game. He has been a good guiding force since I joined MI in 2018.
If you could also talk about the contributions of Mumbai Indians and his wife Devisha in your career?
In my life and in this ticketing journey, there are two pillars – the Mumbai Indians and my wife Devisha.
Let me first explain the contribution of MI. When I came back here from KKR in 2018, I was looking for opportunities to get higher orders and even if I didn’t ask, the management gave me that responsibility.
I took that opportunity, kept performing and never looked back. MI has provided me with all the means I need to advance.
In 2016 I married Devisha and when I joined MI in 2018 we (me and Devisha) as a unit started thinking, what do we need to do to get to the next class. It was a dream we both nurtured together and she was always there when I needed her. Even if she doesn’t want to travel, I drag her around.
She gives me the balance I need as an athlete. She doesn’t let me get complacent after a productive day and also doesn’t let me down after a bad day.