When Suryakumar Yadav represented corporate cricket as an 18-year-old for Bharat Petrol Corporation Limited, Vinayak Mane was the BPCL captain. And when Yadav, after an ugly fracas within the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) realms during his maiden captaincy season in 2014-15, was sacked as captain and didn’t have a club. Mane as the captain-cum-coach at Parsee Gymkhana, was around to give him the confidence.
While Yadav has set the T20 stage ablaze at the global stage, Mane as the Parsee Gymkhana coach, continues to lend the much-needed support to Yadav. The former Mumbai opener who has been overseeing SKY’s preparation, whenever he trains at the good old Gymkhana, opens up about Yadav’s recipe for success.
Will you reveal the secret of Suryakumar Yadav’s success at such a consistent rate over the last few months?
It has been phenomenal, what he’s been doing in one-dayers and the T20 format. The strike rate at which he is scoring has been phenomenal. He has always been a very smart batsman and I think he is exploring new heights in the World Cup. I am not surprised that he is achieving success.
Parsee Gymkhana has always been supportive to all the Mumbai cricketers, not just Surya. Can you tell us about the World Cup preparations Surya did at Parsee Gymkhana?
Whenever he is available in Mumbai, whenever possible when he is free from his India and MCA commitments, he has always made sure he plays for us and he has trained with the team. Our boys also enjoy it when he is around because he is such a strong character and is very positive. He enjoys being at the Gymkhana. I have felt that whenever he has been around, he enjoys the atmosphere at the club and we have always been welcoming to him. There are many good players playing for the team. We have Aavishkar (Salvi, the former India pacer who is now a coach), (Aditya) Tare and (Tushar) Deshpande. Surya especially has a deep connection with the club and always turns up for practice sessions. That’s something specific he does in his preparation for extra pace and a variety of bowlers are always offered.
I asked him about this in a recent interview, whether he practises his innovative strokes. You have seen Surya from his early days, his junior cricket days. In the Mumbai nets, he has not played that much, possibly for limited overs and IPL, I have seen him play a couple of scoops towards the end of the stint. What’s it been like in the last few months?
To be honest, I’ve been watching him since when he was 18 years old when he joined Bharat Petroleum on a scholarship, I have seen him play the scoop shot. Seems like he picked it up beforehand and practiced wherever he trained and he has always been good at it. The recent change we can see is him sweeping (fast) bowlers, so that is something he has adapted. I think he understands how to connect the ball. Not to power it, but to time it and let the timing do the work. That’s his adaptability as a batsman and he has always been a smart operator as a batsman and a cricketer in general. I have seen him bat a lot when he comes to the Gymkhana. He bats for a couple of hours or more. He does hit one or two scoops but the majority will be hitting the straight fields, finding the gaps, rotating strikes and other things. I have seen the scoops from 18-year-old Surya, so I am not surprised he is doing it consistently.
You are not surprised that he is doing this consistently but there was a period when everyone in Mumbai cricket was surprised. Around 2014-15, Surya had to go through a lot. He was sacked as captain and was contemplating whether to leave Mumbai and I think that’s when he joined the Parsee Gymkhana. From then to now, what changes have you seen in him?
As a teenager, Surya was a feisty character, a go-getter type of person. After we shifted to Bharat Petroleum, I started playing with him there. He went on to play domestic cricket and then the captaincy thing happened. It was a great opportunity for him to lead Mumbai. But things didn’t go the way he or the administration wanted and didn’t end well. He faced many challenges from the administration and he requested that he wanted to join us. I was captaining and coaching then. We also thought, seeing how he was playing, we wanted him as we were looking to build a strong team. We welcomed him, he also showed his dedication, commitment and determination towards the club. Since he joined the club, we have both seen the results. We have always done well when he is around. The club has supported him during his tough days and he has given back to us by performing. Whenever he turns up for us, he gets a big score and wins games single-handedly. He motivates our young players also. He is a big name in Indian cricket. He was a big name in domestic cricket before anyway but he always made sure he interacted with the young players and motivated and supported them and it has rubbed off on the youngsters and they are performing well.