B Sai Sudharsan’s 96 in the IPL 2023 final helped Gujarat Titans post the highest total by a team in a summit clash – 214 for 4. While DLS calculations reduced the target and a spirited CSK batting effort chased it down to clinch a fifth title for the team, Sai Sudharsan’s performance will be one to remember.
A piece from 2021 on the Tamil Nadu batter’s rise to fame.
B. Sai Sudharsan might not have topped the run charts for Tamil Nadu in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, but a look behind the headline numbers will show the vital contributions he has made in the team’s success.
In his first two matches, his knocks gave the TN innings the momentum with a 19-ball 35 on debut against Maharashtra followed by a 25-ball 33 against Odisha. In the quarterfinal, chasing 182 against Kerala, it was his 31-ball 46 that set the path for TN to chase down the total before he made an unbeaten 34 (31) to knock off a small target of 90 against Hyderabad in the semifinals.
“He did not look like he was a debutant and showed very good maturity for a 20-year-old. The most impressive aspect was his work ethic and off-the-field, he works more than is even required ”M. Venkatramana
Sudharsan, like many youngsters, missed a crucial one year due to the pandemic after he was selected for the under-19 zonal camp in the NCA that was eventually cancelled last year. But the 20-year-old, speaking to Sportstar, said it proved to be a blessing.
“I was upset initially the camp got cancelled because it was my last year in U-19. But I used the break to work hard on my skills and fitness to be ready when cricket resumed,” said Sudharsan.
It showed when he topped the TNPL run charts with 358 runs for Lyca Kovai Kings. He followed it up with 494 runs in the V.A. Parthasarathy Memorial trophy one-dayers in seven matches to help his side Jolly Rovers win the title.
Feeling of belonging
On his experience of playing for TN, Sudharsan said, “The team management made me feel like I belonged here and told me where I would bat and what my role is. Their backing helped me play with freedom without fear of getting out.”
The elegant left-hander termed his 46 as the best knock of the tournament and said he had learnt a lot from being with players who have played IPL and for India. Work in progress On the areas he feels he can improve, Sudharsan added, “I got starts but in future, I want to play the full quota of overs and finish off games. Another area I want to improve is how to improve my plans and game awareness.”