India head coach Rahul Dravid said expressed his admiration for the consistency Suryakumar has showed in a high-risk format in the post-match press-do.
Q. You spoke about uncertainties of this format and the challenge. With someone like Suryakumar doing it day in and day out, could you explain what kind of process goes into this type of consistency and this type of form?
Dravid: “Yeah, it’s incredible. That’s why he is the No. 1 T20 player in the world at the moment, because of that consistency in a format where scoring at a strike rate that he does actually doesn’t — it’s not easy to be consistent with the kind of strike rate he’s going at. So, it’s just fantastic the way he’s playing. I think he’s been very clear in his processes. He’s very clear about his tactics.
I think he’s worked very hard. I think one of the things about Surya is just the amount of hard work that he’s put in in the nets, in thinking about his game, his fitness. If I look at Surya from a couple of years ago, just to see how he takes care of his body and the amount of time he spends on his fitness, I think he’s just really earning the reward for a lot of the hard work that he’s put in on and off the field, and long may it continue.
I think he’s been absolutely phenomenal for us. He’s just a joy to watch. It’s a pleasure to watch him bat when he’s in that kind of form. Every time it’s like he puts on a show, without a doubt.”
Q. What’s your take on this much bigger World Cup stage than the one in September, Asia Cup? A lot of things have happened today, Netherlands beating South Africa, so what’s your take on this format itself going into the semi-finals?
Dravid: “Yeah, it’s a challenging format. It’s a challenging tournament. When you have six teams and just one or two results don’t go your way, as we’ve seen with some of the other teams, I think with us, as well, I think one or two results could have gone the other way. We could have won some games, as well.
Yeah, this is a very challenging format to be able to get through and get to the top four. Obviously it’s nice, and we’re happy about it, but obviously we know that hopefully we’ve got a couple of more good days in us as we go ahead.”
Q. How do you think about someone like Rishabh Pant who’s been on the bench for a while, and as a coach how do you deal when he steps back on to the turf, to keep his confidence levels high?
Dravid: “Yeah, in a sense it’s not that we ever lost confidence in Rishabh. I think we’ve got confidence in all of our 15 players who play here. It’s only 11 guys who can play, and it depends on the combinations that you have. The very fact that they are here and they’re part of the World Cup means that we have a lot of confidence in them. It means that anytime they can be called on to play in the XI.
That’s really the role of when you pick 15 players and you pick 15 from so many other options that you have. That means you’ve actually got a lot of confidence in this 15.
“Yes, you can only play 11 at a time and some people sometimes miss out and don’t have to play, but again, Rishabh is someone that as a lot of you would have been seeing, would have been traveling with us, he’s been batting a lot in the nets, he’s been hitting a lot of balls, doing a lot of fielding practice and sort of keeping practice and keeping himself ready.
The opportunity came for us today to give him an opportunity and to play him in this game, and yeah, obviously it didn’t kind of work out today, but absolutely no — I’m not bothered about that at all because I think he took the right option. His role was to take on the left-hand spinner which was there, and sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t.
“I don’t think we judge people on one game, and sometimes whether we play them or not is not based on one game. Sometimes it’s just matchups, what we think would be something that we might need here or going ahead, as well, into the next part of the tournament; what are the skills we might need against which are the kind of bowlers we might come up against. So a lot of things go into these kind of decisions.”