“It (vice-captaincy) wasn’t expected, but the way the past year has been for me, I can say that it’s like a reward for me. I’m feeling very good about it, and I’m really looking forward to it,” Surya said after cracking 95 for Mumbai against Saurashtra on Day 2 of the Ranji Trophy match at the MCA’s ground in BKC.
It was his father Ashok Kumar Yadav who broke the good news to ‘Sky’ on Tuesday night that he had been ‘promoted’ in India’s T20I setup. “My father forwarded the (team) to me, because he’s always on social media. Then, we spoke to each other. He also sent me a small message: ‘Not to take any pressure and enjoy your batting.’”
Of course, it took time for the news to sink in.
“I closed my eyes and asked myself: ‘Is this a dream?’” Surya revealed. Indeed, the last two years — since his debut against England at Ahmedabad on March 14, 2021, he has smashed 1,408 runs in 42 T20Is @44.00 at an unreal strike rate of 180.97, with 12 fifties and 2 hundreds – have been like a ‘walk in the clouds’ for the Mumbaikar, who bats like a ‘free bird’ as former Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni had once termed him to be. If the 32-year-old keeps smiling and pinching himself, you can’t blame him!
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“Of course, it still feels like a dream. My hard work of several years (has paid off). The seeds that I’ve sown, that tree has finally grown, and I’m enjoying its fruits. So, I’m really happy with the way things are growing. I want to ensure that this patch keeps getting longer. The more I’m in this space, the better,” he beamed.
Does the additional ‘work profile’ bring any more pressure on him? Like most strokeplayers, Surya doesn’t give the ‘P’ word much importance.
“Since the time I’ve been playing cricket for India, there has always been responsibility and pressure on me. But at the same time, I’ve been saying that I’m just enjoying my game in the middle. I don’t carry any baggage. I don’t think too much. I do the thinking only in the hotel and in the nets. When it comes to the match, I just look to enjoy my game, and express myself,” Surya said.
Having played plenty of times with Hardik Pandya for India and the Mumbai Indians before that, he enjoys an excellent equation with the all-rounder. Will he look to help him in decision-making as well? “Absolutely. Our bond has always been very good. We’ve played a lot together for India and MI. Our batting numbers are also one after the other. We’ve bated a lot together. We complement each other. He’s been a fantastic leader, as you’ve seen in the IPL, and recently, while leading India. So, I really enjoy playing under his captaincy,” he complimented.