Suryakumar Yadav, the captain of the India U-23 team, thanked his senior Mumbai teammates for their suggestions, which he believed proved vital in helping him lead the side to the AsianCricket Council Emerging Teams trophy in Singapore on Sunday.
Yadav had earlier led Mumbai ‘A’ against the touring England team in November last year, but the right-hander never dreamt of leading the national side soon. Once the opportunity arrived, Yadav wanted to ensure that no stone was left unturned.
“I was with a few friends when I was informed about being named the captain of the India U-23 team. I had never thought about captaining. All that I was thinking about was where I would bat and how I would execute my game-plan.
“The team was named at least a month in advance. So, I had good time to prepare for the new challenge. I immediately approached my Mumbai captain Ajit Agarkar for advice. I also spoke to my seniors like Wasim Jaffer, Rohit Sharma and Abhishek Nayar.
“They had only one advice for me: Keep it simple. They told me keeping it uncomplicated makes the team and support staff comfortable. It also brings out the best performance. I just followed what they said,” Yadav told MiD DAY after arriving in Mumbai late on Monday night.
Opener KL Rahul smashed unbeaten 93 to help India thump Pakistan by nine wickets in the final. India chased down the 160-run target in only 33.4 overs at the Kallang ground.
Yadav also thanked his U-23 teammates for the victory. “All players chipped in whenever it was required. There were guys like Unmukt Chand (India U-19 World Cup-winning skipper), Baba Aparijith and Sandeep Sharma (both India U-19 World Cup-winning members) who were great support. They would ease my pressure by sharing their ideas. It was a total team effort,” said Yadav.
India seemed to be in cruise control throughout the series, except against Afghanistan. Yadav & Co could manage only 156-9 in 50 overs, chasing Afghanistan’s 184-7 in their last league match.
“It was certainly a wake-up call for us. But these things happen in cricket. They played really well. We did not look too much into the loss. Our focus was on doing the right things and not repeat mistakes,” he said.
Yadav may have impressed with his leadership skills, but the all-rounder continued to struggle with his form, scoring just one half-century (against Nepal) in five matches and claimed 2-20 in the final against Pakistan.
“I didn’t think too much about my performance. Most of my focus was on leading the side well. It was a huge challenge for me and I have achieved what I had aimed for. I am happy with the way I played. I am working hard on my skills to get better,” Yadav signed off.