When a Jofra Archer knuckle-ball crashed into Suryakumar Yadav’s helmet during Mumbai Indians’ clash against Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday, many would have wondered how the in-form batsman would respond after being cleared to continue batting.
He came up with a unique response, scooping the yorker at almost 150 kph over third-man in a typical Suryakumar way. Surya, whose unbeaten 79 off 47 balls set up MI’s first win against the Royals in five years, revealed that his batting partner Hardik Pandya was of immense help in coming up with that extraordinary shot.
“Hardik was was like, ‘boss this is the time, let’s try and do something different’. I asked him with his experience what does he feel, what is he going to try? So he was like he may hit a yorker. So I said let’s get prepared for that,” Surya said during a media interaction on Thursday.
“That was one of the shots I had been practising during lockdown. I just tried to execute it without thinking about anything else and it worked.”
Despite the mindblowing scoop, the impact of the bouncer resulted in Suryakumar being unable to field. But the man of the match during MI’s last game insisted that he will be ready to set the stage on fire during when MI take on Delhi Capitals in its next game on Sunday.
“First few hours were a little disturbing. But later on took really good care of me the physios and doctors, now I am feeling better,” he said.
The scoop is a latest entrant to Suryakumar’s artillery of uncanny strokes. Even before he made his Mumbai Indians debut during the Champions League Twenty20 in 2011, one of the trademark strokes he had developed was a sweep off the pacers.
And the stroke was on full display against Royals, especially in the death over.
Surya recalled how batting against a rubber ball in Chembur, a central suburb in Mumbai, helped him develop the sweep as a kid. “When I started playing a lot of rubber ball cricket with my friends during the rainy season, we used to play on hard concrete surface. Boundary on off was 30-40 metres but leg side was 70-80 metres,” he said.
“From there I started playing the scoop, lap… it has all come from there, even the sweep. In rubber ball you do not fear that much when you play the sweep or a lap so you know it is not going to hurt so much.”
If Surya continues to employ his sweeps and scoops effectively, the national selectors, just like opposition bowlers, will find it hard to keep him at bay for the Australia tour.
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