A leader like Hardik Pandya is an asset : Sai Sudharsan | Cricket News

CHENNAI: Some strokes transcend the win-loss binary. Chennai Super Kings’ five-star triumph late on Monday captured the public’s imagination but didn’t take the shine off the Gujarat Titans’ left-handed batsman Sai Sudharsanglittering innings. It was a display of deft banter and immense self-confidence.
Dogged by strike rate problems in previous matches, including Qualifier-1 in which GT team management decided to retire him, Sudharsan had had another slow start in the final before successfully switching gears in mid-innings.
“In all my previous innings, I was batting alongside Shubman Gill (who had scored runs at a fast clip). This time I was with Wriddhi bhai (Wriddhiman Saha) and the execution rate was down. We were just a wicket down so I thought it best to take a chance. I played with that intent,” Sudharsan told TOI in an exclusive chat.


The 21-year-old from Chennai said he did nothing drastically different that day.
“Preparation was done entirely before the tournament. Ten days before the start of the IPL, we held preparatory camps where we learned more about ourselves and gained clarity on what our role in the team will be and how we can best contribute,” said Sudharsan.


Sai Sudarshan (photo BCCI/IPL)
Preparation came in handy during league games, especially when he faltered.
“A leader like Hardik Pandya it’s a plus. It gives you the platform and security to express yourself. It makes you feel very comfortable in your skin no matter how well you perform throughout the day. Also in my last innings (Qualifier-1), I missed some balls that should have connected. But it has given me the confidence that I can still hit the big boys and do the work for the team,” Sudharsan said. And then there is team mentor Gary Kirsten who is famous for his player management skills.
Sudharsan says he learned “how to react to different match situations” from Kirsten. The lesson came in handy in the final when the southpaw collided with slingshot Matheesha Pathirana.
“Pathirana slides the ball so I went further down towards him in my position. I didn’t do it knowingly and I can’t tell you how. It just happened naturally.


As for spinners, Sudharsan found that a combination of overhead and low shots worked well for him.
Despite Monday’s stellar coup and all the flattery that followed, Sudharsan is aware of his shortcomings and realizes that he still has a long way to go.
“I could have played better. I have to up my game in the middle and in death overs,” she said.
The humility comes from his parents, both former sportsmen. Growing up to be a state-level volleyball mom and national-level athlete dad meant realizing that success and failure are ephemeral and should be handled lightly.
“I am grateful and fortunate to have been born to these parents. They taught me a lot about the kind of mindset you should have to excel in sports. My main learning from them is that you can’t always be the best. A balanced approach works”.


Sai Sudarshan (photo BCCI/IPL)
The guy tries to take this approach with him in every tournament. He wants to play all three formats of the game and is striving to improve technically and mentally to be able to do it at the highest level. His next assignment is the Tamil Nadu Premier League, which starts on 12 June.
“It’s the tournament that has given me a lot of accolades and made people sit up and notice me. So looking forward to doing well again there. After this, Sudharsan has his eye on the Ranji Trophy. “Unfortunately we had a couple of bad games last season. I wish to make amends.


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