Interview: "I will combine aggressiveness with smartness from now on" - Suryakumar Yadav, India U-23 captain
Suryakumar Yadav is an attacking batsman, who currently plays for Mumbai and is a part of Mumbai Indians squad. Yadav had an impressive Ranji Trophy season in 2011-12 amassing 754 runs in nine matches at an average of 68.54 and was the most prolific batsman for Mumbai that season.
Yadav was also a part of the Mumbai Indians team in their victorious 2011 Champions League Twenty20 campaign. Currently, Yadav is the captain of the India U-23 team.
Being selected the captain of the U-23 Indian team means you’re one step from the Indian team. How does that feel?
It feels absolutely great. Also saying that it’s just one step from the national team sounds great. However, we are still a junior team and ready to face all the challenges that comes our way.
You have had a great start to your domestic career. Are you happy with your progress as a cricketer?
Right now I’m happy with everything. I have been working hard for past 5-6 months on every aspect of my game. I have had few fitness issues during my first season, which went on till second season. However, I’m well prepared for the upcoming season and raring to give my best.
The new breed of Indian cricketers seems to have an aggressive mentality and bat with a lot of freedom. Do you also buy into that philosophy?
Well I have always been very aggressive. During my first season in the domestic cricket, I used to play very aggressively. During my second season, I was playing over aggressively. I was more of a hitter than a run scorer. Now I want to play with a bit of smartness and aggressiveness as well. The combination of both is required in order for me to get runs.
Who is your idol and whom do you model your game on?
Well I don’t have any Idol as such. I’m just trying to get better.
You were signed by the Mumbai Indians in 2011, having played just one first-class game. How has that experience been for you?
When I was signed by the Mumbai Indians, I didn’t know anything about IPL. I was scared, confused and had no idea what to do. After some time I started talking to some of my seniors and the guided me through. The experience of playing with cricketing greats was very valuable and has helped me improve a lot as a cricketer and as a person.
You play for Mumbai that has a legacy of producing great batsmen. Does that add that extra bit of pressure on you?
Yes, of course there is always some pressure. However, as you keep playing, it goes away. Mumbai has produced some of the best cricketers. We have to work really hard because we know we have to fill in their shoes.
Are you happy with your team for the ACC Emerging Cup?
Yes the team looks pretty good. I have played with almost everyone in the team before. We had a 30-day camp in Mysore to gel well and played few practice matches. Now just looking forward to play in the Singapore and hopefully we will do well.
Does the IPL really help the Indian youngsters or does it act as a distraction?
Well many might say it’s a distraction but according to me it’s not. It’s very helpful for all the cricketers. We get to know and play with many International cricketers which wouldn’t have been possible without it.
You learn a lot when you are with such greats. I completely admire Ricky Ponting for being both an amazing person and cricketer. His skills, work ethics and fitness are very impressive. He taught me the importance of working hard so that one can have a sound sleep at night.
You already have an average of 50 plus in the domestic circuit. Do you think you are ready for the international arena?
Yes, I think I am, as I have worked hard and prepared myself very well.
Apart from batting, you do roll your arm over. Do you consider yourself as an all-rounder?
I consider myself more of a batsman. If my team needs me to bowl then I do as I have few first class wickets.
How different is it play for the Mumbai Ranji team and the Mumbai Indians side?
Well it’s a completely different story. Playing for Mumbai Ranji has its own challenges and pressures. However, at the end of the day, playing for Mumbai whether in domestic or IPL is a matter of pride and honour.
Mumbai Indians won the IPL this year and Mumbai won the Ranji trophy as well. Do you thing Mumbai cricket is on the rise again?
Mumbai cricket has always been exceptional. We won the Ranji for the 40th time, which says a lot about the team.