A leader like Hardik Pandya is a boon- Sai Sudharsan | Cricket News – Times of Nation
Dogged by strike-rate issues in earlier matches — including Qualifier-1 where the GT team management decided to retire him out — Sudharsan had gotten off to another sluggish start in the final before he managed to successfully change gears mid-innings.
‘In all my previous innings, I was batting alongside Shubman Gill (who had been scoring runs at a fast clip). This time, I was with Wriddhi bhai (Wriddhiman Saha) and the run rate had fallen. We were just one wicket down, so I thought it is better to take chances. I played with that intent,’ Sudharsan told TOI in an exclusive chat.
The 21-year-old from Chennai said he did not do anything drastically different that day.
‘The preparation was done entirely before the tournament. Ten days before IPL started, we had preparatory camps where we learnt more about ourselves and got clarity on what our role in the team is going to be and how best we can contribute,’ Sudharsan said.
Sai Sudarshan (BCCI/IPL Photo)
The prep stood him in good stead during the league games, especially when he faltered.
‘A leader like Hardik Pandya is a boon. He gives you the platform and the confidence to express yourself. He makes you feel very comfortable in your own skin, regardless of your performance on the day. Even in my last innings (Qualifier-1), I missed a few balls that I ought to have connected. But he gave me the confidence that I can still hit the big ones and do the job for the team,’ Sudharsan said. And then there is team mentor Gary Kirsten, who is renowned for his player-management skills.
Sudharsan says he learnt ‘how to react to different match situations’ from Kirsten. The lesson came in handy in the final, when the southpaw was up against slinger Matheesha Pathirana.
‘Pathirana skids the ball, so I went lower to him in my stance. I didn’t do it consciously, and can’t explain to you how. It just naturally happened.’
As for spinners, Sudharsan found that a combination of lofted and down-the-ground shots worked well for him.
Despite his stellar knock on Monday and all the adulation that followed, Sudharsan is cognizant of his shortcomings and realises he has a long way to go.
‘I could have played better. I need to improve my game in the middle and death overs,’ he said.
The humility stems from his parents, both of whom are former sportspersons. Growing up to a state-level volleyball player mom and a national-level athlete dad meant realizing that success and failure are ephemeral and should be handled lightly.
‘I’m grateful and fortunate to be born to such parents. They taught me a lot about the kind of mindset you should have to excel in sport. My main learning from them is that you don’t always get to be the best. A balanced approach works.’
Sai Sudarshan (BCCI/IPL Photo)
The young lad tries to take that approach with him in every tournament. He wants to play all three formats of the game and is striving to improve technically and mentally to be able to do that at the highest level. His next assignment is the Tamil Nadu Premier League, which starts from June 12.
‘It is the tournament which gave me a lot of accolades and made people sit up and notice me. So I am raring to do well there again.’ Post that, Sudharsan has his sights set on the Ranji Trophy. ‘Unfortunately we had a couple of bad games last season. I wish to make amends.’
(News Source -Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Times Of Nation staff and is published from a timesofindia.indiatimes.com feed.)
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