Sran keen on doing the hard yards

"I believe I gave my best in the three matches that I played in Australia. But to be honest, I still need to work on a lot of things. The good thing is that I have good coaches and good trainers to help me," says Barinder Sran.

Barinder Sran had a dream debut in the ODI series against Australia. He dismissed Aaron Finch and David Warner in his first spell.   -  PTI

India's skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni presents Barinder Sran his ODI cap before the match against Australia in Perth on January 12, 2016.   -  Getty Images

Barinder Sran was destined to become a cricketer, but he could have well represented India at the Olympic Games as a boxer! That is an oft-repeated story. Now, with three ODI appearances under his belt, the 23-year-old left-arm pacer from Punjab is well and truly in the big league. Yes, he has a long way to go in order to make himself a regular member of the Indian team, but the point is that Sran is keen on doing the hard yards. “Ab aur kaam karna hain mujhe. Coaches ne bhi yehi kaha hai (I have to work even harder. My coaches too have told me this),” the Akhil Kumar fan tells Sportstar in Valsad, where Punjab are taking on Assam in the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy.

Excerpts from an interview:

Question: You played just 11 first class, eight List A and 10 Twenty20 matches before playing for India. Can you describe the feeling of occupying that dressing room?

Answer: I felt proud more than anything else. After all, this is my first full season on the domestic circuit. Before I joined the team, I was wondering how to approach Dhoni bhai, Virat bhai and everybody else. I was nervous. To my surprise, and delight, I was made to feel at home. One by one, the seniors approached me, spoke with me, and I realised it was one big family. Such was the atmosphere.

When did you get the feeling that you belong there?

I was never left alone (smiles). Be it the practice sessions or the bus rides to and from the hotel, someone or the other was around me. Even the coaches made it a point to talk to me every now and then.


The selectors have blooded a youngster with minimal experience after a long time. Yuvraj Singh said that you reminded him of a young Zaheer Khan. Did all of this add to the pressure?

Look, I know it was a very big opportunity, especially because it was just my first full season for Punjab. I believe I gave my best in those three matches. But to be honest, I still need to work on a lot of things. The good thing is that I have good coaches and good trainers to help me.

You were impressive on debut. Prior to that, you did well in the two practice games…

You can say I had a dream debut. I dismissed Aaron Finch and David Warner in my first spell. I could have had George Bailey too, but that decision didn’t go our way. And he went on to make a hundred. I also got Steve Smith later, but we could not win the game. I would have been happier had we won that game.

Were you surprised to see how the team failed to defend 300-plus scores right through the series?

We knew it was going to be tough. The wickets were so slow, so flat. Every match was a run feast.

You said you need to work on your bowling. Could you elaborate?

I need to work on my length. The wickets in Australia were bouncy, but you can’t bowl short just like that. It’s about variety. It’s about bowling according to the field setting. Then again, your approach in the slog overs has to be different. Your focus has to be on bowling yorkers.

After a couple of weeks in Australia, you find yourself in Valsad, playing for Punjab. Is there pressure on you to do better now given that you are an international?

(Smiles) There is no such pressure. For my Punjab team-mates, I am still the same Barinder Sran. I am the same guy. But, yes, in my mind, I know I need to do well. After all, I have played for India (smiles).

You could have become a boxer. What are the similarities between cricket and boxing?

I haven’t really compared the two disciplines (smiles). But, yes, dono mein fight toh hai hi (need to fight in both). In boxing, you are trying to down the opponent. In cricket, the batsman is trying to down the bowler and vice-versa.

Who is your favourite boxer?

Akhil Kumar without doubt. I just love his style (imitates his fade-away move). Accha lagta hain mujhe unka style (I like his style).

What about the Tysons and Alis? Have you watched their videos?

Yes, I have. But, trust me, that is a very different level of boxing. That’s heavyweight (laughs).

Tell us more about Akhil…

He would always train with the juniors at the academy in Bhiwani. Sabko saath lekar chalte thhe. Badi phurti hain unmein ( He would take everybody along. He is very agile).


4-0-24-2 vs. Western Australia XI in Perth (practice T20)

7-1-22-0 vs. Western Australia XI in Perth (practice one-dayer)

9.2-0-56-3 vs. Australia in Perth (1st ODI)

9-1-51-0 vs. Australia in Brisbane (2nd ODI)

8-0-63-0 vs. Australia in Melbourne (3rd ODI)

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