If there is no pressure, there is no fun: Suryakumar Yadav
As it always happens when the results don’t go your team’s way, even good performances get eclipsed. Ask Suryakumar Yadav. In a tough season for Mumbai, Yadav did his reputation no harm as a batsman. An attacking player, he came up with runs in all formats, starting with Vijay Hazare (50 overs), Mushtaq Ali T20 and the Ranji Trophy.
If one doesn’t restrict to just the run-tally, but also analyse the manner and the situation it was scored, then Yadav ranks among the top-rated professionals in the country.
In the Vijay Hazare Trophy, he had the highest average in the tournament (113) in the four innings he got and the third best strike-rate (154.79). In the Mushtaq Ali T20s, he was Mumbai’s highest run-getter and the third highest in the tournament (392 runs, in 10 innings, SR: 168.96). In the Ranji Trophy he aggregated 508 runs in five games (avg 56.44). Add to it the Deodhar Trophy, where Yadav had a knock of 72 from 29 balls.
Both his centuries in the Ranji Trophy came in the second innings on difficult tracks. In the first game of the season against Baroda, he helped Prithvi Shaw set up the win with a strokeful unbeaten 102, and in the penultimate tie of the league stage against Saurashtra, when all seemed lost for Mumbai after conceding the first innings lead, he helped his team make a match of it by blasting a belligerent 134.
The impressive thing about Yadav is his versatility and temperament. Aware that he can be attacking even in the most challenging of situations, there’s no fuss about his batting position. In tough run chases in limited overs format, he strode out to bat at No 5 when the asking rate was climbing, and in the Ranji Trophy this season, before leaving for India A tour of New Zealand midway, he was seen most of the time looking to repair the top-order collapses.
Yadav likes to describe his game as fearless. “In one word, I can say ‘fearless’. In the past few years the way I am batting in any situation, I have been really flexible in my batting order from opening to No 7 and in all formats, the brand of cricket I am playing right now, I am really enjoying. I am thinking of nothing else except score runs, heavily, as much I can do,” says Yadav.
An IPL star, establishing his credentials as a finisher with Kolkata Knight Riders before playing in the top-order for Mumbai Indians since 2018, he has certainly evolved as a player from someone who would start beautifully and then fell to reckless shots when he first burst on to the scene, in 2010.
“In the past few years, I think I have become calm in taking decisions, take those extra seconds during the game. I know what shots to play to tackle the situations and that has helped me a lot, made me what I am right now.”
Yadav is among the rare breed of cricketers who thrive under pressure. For him, it is fun. “For me pressure means responsibility and opportunity. If there is no pressure, there is no fun in this game, when you overcome that then you enjoy the game more,” he said.