The 32-year-old, who made his international debut in March 2021, had had a stunning 2022. He will end the year as the leading run-getter in T20Is with 1,164 runs in 31 matches at an average of 46.56 at an exceptional strike rate of 187.43.
The right-handed batter is currently representing Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy domestic competition. Speaking at the sidelines of the match against Saurashtra, SKY, who top-scored for his side in the first inning with 95, said that the elevation to vice-captaincy is nothing short of a dream. He stated, “It (vice-captaincy) wasn’t expected, but the way the past year has been for me, I can say that it’s like a reward for me. I’m feeling very good about it, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
The 360-degree batter revealed that it was his father who informed him of the big development. SKY added, “My father forwarded the (team) to me, because he’s always on social media. Then, we spoke to each other. He also sent me a small message: ‘Not to take any pressure and enjoy your batting.’”
Admitting that the news took time to sink in, Suryakumar shared his emotions and commented, “I closed my eyes and asked myself, ‘Is this a dream?’ Of course, it still feels like a dream. My hard work of several years (has paid off). The seeds that I’ve sown, that tree has finally grown, and I’m enjoying its fruits. So, I’m really happy with the way things are growing. I want to ensure that this patch keeps getting longer. The more I’m in this space, the better.”
While agreeing that being named vice-captain is a great honor, Suryakumar played down any talk of extra pressure, stating that the sense of responsibility will always be there. He elaborated, “Since the time I’ve been playing cricket for India, there has always been responsibility and pressure on me. But at the same time, I’ve been saying that I’m just enjoying my game in the middle. I don’t carry any baggage. I don’t think too much. I do the thinking only in the hotel and in the nets. When it comes to the match, I just look to enjoy my game, and express myself.”
Suryakumar has so far played 42 T20Is in which he has scored 1,408 runs while averaging 44 at a strike rate of 180.97, with 2 hundreds and 12 fifties.
--By A Cricket Correspondent