Reflecting on his journey to the pinnacle to hitting the nadir and the rise to top again, Surya stressed on having a ‘balanced life’. During the entire phase, the swashbuckling batter realised the importance of having a balance in life irrespective of the on-field results.
“I feel it’s very important to have that balance in life. That’s what I have learnt from last year and this. Last year was full of highs. This year, it started the way I wanted it to start but then suddenly, (there were) three-four ducks in four-five games,” Suryakumar told the media here on Saturday ahead of MI’s must-win IPL game against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
He had learnt to take things in stride and also have a little perspective of how things can pan out.
“I realised that if you create that balance in your life… whether you are doing well or not. It’s difficult because it’s human tendency. It’s very easy to say that you have to balance it out, stay grounded. It’s very easy. But to implement that in real life is difficult,” he sounded a touch philosophical.
“If you create that balance, stay the same with your friends and family when you are scoring runs as you are when you are not scoring runs, then it actually reflects in the game,” he added.
In ICC rankings, Surya with 906 points is way ahead of Pakistan’s Mohammed Rizwan (811) among international T20 batters before he got a rude reality check during the home series against Australia.
The much-awaited Test debut in Nagpur didnt go as per plan and then there were successive ducks in ODIs followed by a poor first phase of IPL before vintage ‘SKY’ was back bringing MI back in play-off contention.
Surya had a poor first four games before he found his rhythm to get to 486 runs from 13 games at a healthy strike-rate of 186 plus and a century against Gujarat Titans that will be remembered for a long time to come.
“I have felt it during the last month. At the start of the IPL, I started thinking: ‘where are my runs!’ But then I started doing the same things which helped me do well last year and everything came back to place,” Suryakumar said.
Surya said pressure has always been there irrespective of scoring runs or not.
“The pressure is always there. Whether I am getting runs or not getting runs, I always feel the pressure. If someone says there is no pressure, he is lying. It’s good to have that pressure and butterflies when you are going into bat. That’s how you overcome it and become a better cricketer,” he said.
Surya said Mumbai Indians were not worried about the other results and would watch the other matches closely. The outcomes of the other games can influence MI’s chances in the play-offs.
“We can just sit and watch today’s (Saturday’s) games and when we come tomorrow (Sunday) we will know what is in our hands and what we have to do going forward.
“We will be focussing on what we have been doing and not what is happening outside. What is working for us, I think, it is important to stick to that and go ahead with it,” he said.
Talking about his incredible batting which has taken him to the top spot in world rankings, Suryakumar said he does not have the strength to hit powerful sixes but focuses on hitting shots that get him runs.
“I save some (shots) for the game too, but yeah, whatever strokes I play in the match, I would have already played them somewhere, in practice or in a match or would have practised them somewhere.
“And if I have not played a specific shot in the practice, I keep playing it in my mind, thinking on the lines of where I can get the runs from on the ground, or I could play another shot,” he said.
His game is a lot to do with precision and not exactly about power.
“I try to play the field, I do not have that much power to hit long sixes but I try to play less-risk-high-reward shots. I try to play as long as I can for the team.
“In the practice, I keep playing those shots but I do not bat much. Maybe 15-20 minutes, and when I get the feel, I make an exit,” he added.
Suryakumar sa,id adding new shots to his arsenal is not something he is working on.
“The ground is so vast, there are still so many areas that need to be explored. But like I said, I don’t try and do anything different. When everything is going so well, why do you need to look for a new area?” he said.
Does left-arm seamers trouble him more? “It is (strike rate) above 100 only no? (laughs). I do not focus much on a particular type of bowler because I know there are different types of bowlers coming in the game.
“I know that if I slow down somewhere, I have the ability to cover up later on, and if you see the overall strike rate is over 170 (laughs again),” he said.
MSD doesn’t always talks about cricket
Mahendra Singh Dhoni doesn’t always talk cricket with him but about how his mind is working and if he is still rooted to the ground despite all the success.
“When we played them (CSK) here, it’s funny, we didn’t speak about cricket. He asked me if everything was okay at home, if everything was okay between my ears… was my mind okay?
“And the third thing he asked was which is the next car I was going to buy. It’s always good and fun to chat with him. Recently when we went to Chennai, we had a long conversation. He’s always told me to be grounded and never forget your roots.”
(With inputs from PTI)