B. Sai Sudharsan is riding a wave of momentum following a good IPL this year and has become a household name after his brilliant 96 in the final for Gujarat Titans against Chennai Super Kings.
He came into the T20 extravaganza on the back of three centuries in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with two more in the Ranji Trophy in his maiden season and credited it for his performances in the IPL.
“Playing domestic cricket teaches you to adapt to different conditions, which is very important. We play in different conditions, pitches and climates. So it was easier during the IPL. The confidence from having a good domestic season also helped this year,” said Sudharsan.
However, it was a challenging season for the Tamil Nadu batter, who was benched after the first five matches despite scoring two half-centuries, as the team wanted to include a finisher instead of him.
When asked about it, Sudharsan said, “Yes, I was slightly upset, but you have to see, ultimately, the team trusted me and gave me a chance for the five matches. So, we have to respect the decision. I used the opportunity to correct what I was not doing well to get better.”
“Sometimes, I played a few dot balls and tried unwanted things in certain situations. So, it was more about game sense and tactical things more than technical aspects that I focussed on during that time,” he explained.
For someone known more for his orthodox shots, this year saw the left-handed batter try adding more weapons to his arsenal, like the ramp shots, and he credited Kane Williamson for it.
“I tried to have more shots like switch hit because, in this format, you need options, even if you rarely use them. I learnt it from seeing Kane practice. He won’t reverse sweep often but practices and knows how to play. Our batting style is similar, and we play similar roles in the team, so I relate to him,” said the 21-year-old.
While the limelight on him has increased, Sai said he is trying to learn from the season and move ahead.
“Personally, nothing has changed for me. I started doing my routines after the final. There are a lot of changes externally, but I have learnt a lot from this year’s IPL and want to focus on that rather than worry about external factors.”
“This year was a validation that I am on the right path. I now have a sense of belonging. Initially, there were doubts about whether I could play T20 or survive at this level. Those doubts are nullified now,” he added.
The youngster has already started the new season on the right note with a match-winning 86 for his TNPL side earlier this week and took another step in the right direction after receiving his maiden Duleep Trophy call-up for South Zone on Tuesday.
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