Following a fantastic performance in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Sai Sudharshan reveals his motto for India Cricket Team selection in the IND versus SA series.
Sai Sudharsan had a stellar 2023, making way for bigger and better things. From his thrilling 47-ball 96 in the IPL final for Gujarat Titans to a century against Pakistan A in the Emerging Asia Cup and sealing the deal with Surrey in the English County Championship, Sudharsan’s journey was already impressive. Just when it seemed the year couldn’t get any better, he earned his first call-up to the India Cricket Team last week, ahead of the IND vs SA series.
Sudharsan, 22, was picked in India’s squad for the ODI series of the South African tour, capping off a breakthrough phase with his maiden national call-up. But he wasn’t expecting a call-up and was taken by surprise to find his name in the squad.
Now that he is close to wearing the blue shirt and making his India debut in the IND vs SA series, his mantra is: adapt quickly.
“Getting into the team itself is a big honour. Once I get into the team, I would love to have conversations around cricket, on how the conditions are in South Africa, adapt soon, and obviously contribute for the team,” he said.
“Actually, we are playing the Vijay Hazare Trophy. So, I was focusing on the tournament and not expecting the India call-up. It was a surprise, but I am really happy,” he added.
Although he narrowly missed out on the 2020 U-19 World Cup selection for South Africa, the Chennai youngster is all set to face the challenge of unfamiliar conditions this month. His progress since the U-19 World Cup setback indicates that he’s on the right path. Sudharsan aims to embrace adaptability as his mantra as he gears up for the upcoming IND vs SA ODI series.
“This will be my first time in South Africa. I’ve heard there will be good pace and bounce. I will just get ready for that and hopefully go there and get some volume (of practice). I don’t think there will be too many changes. The only thought I have is to go there and adapt quickly to the conditions. I am excited by the challenge, first to play for the country and then to go for an overseas tour,” Sudharsan added.
Sai Sudharshan shines in domestic before IND vs SA ODIs
Sai Sudharsan has emerged as one of Tamil Nadu’s standout performers since debuting in one-day cricket a couple of seasons ago. However, it was his remarkable performance in this year’s IPL final that truly thrust him into the spotlight. These innings showcased not only his knack for accelerating once he settles in but also his ability to thrive on the big stage without being overwhelmed by it.
Following this breakthrough, Sudharsan expanded his cricketing horizons by gaining experience in English conditions. He featured in two first-class matches for Surrey, who eventually clinched the County Championship title.
In white-ball cricket, Sudharsan has been a key contributor for his state, boasting an impressive average of 60.42 after 24 List-A games, with a striking rate of 96.28. Additionally, his performance in first-class cricket has been commendable, with an average of 43.63 in 11 appearances. Sudharsan anticipates that this exposure will serve him well in facing future challenges.
With Sudharsan now being part of the Indian set-up, he has a valuable opportunity for additional learning from those he admires and looks up to. He expressed his excitement to be interacting with senior players like KL Rahul and Virat Kohli.
“Definitely Virat Kohli has been a hero. There’s KL Rahul too, who will be leading (in ODIs). I would like to have cricketing conversations with him.” he concluded.
IND vs SA ODI Squad:
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sai Sudharsan, Tilak Varma, Rajat Patidar, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (C)(wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar