Mumbai Indians are riding on a high these days with the entry of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar. If one talks about the top order of the team, it hasn’t been able to perform very well in the initial matches. But, the way Jayasuriya has made a comeback in the last three matches, it has stunned everyone. Iplnewsonline network spoke to Sanath Jayasuriya:
So, finally you have got your form back?
A: (laughingly) Yes, I got it back and got it at the right time. I got it at a time when my team needed me the most and that’s a big achievement for me. When Sachin wasn’t playing, there were a lot of expectations from me as a senior player. Unfortunately, I couldn’t live up to their expectations at that time. But, now everything is fine.
Where did all this energy come from?
A: See, every player needs time to settle down in the tournament. I agree I just took a longer time than others. But, I came back in my form at that point of time when my team needed me the most. Teams like Chennai and Kolkata have shown their brilliant performances in the tournament so far. Sachin has just entered the team so it would be wrong to expect a big score from him at such an early stage. Keeping in mind the strategies of the opponent teams, we practiced at the nets and the result is in front of you.
Is your spectacular performance a result of your meeting with your family?
A: Yes, you have got it right. We had got a week off after the match against Jaipur. At that time I had flown back and caught up with my family. It felt so good meeting them. I got into my proper senses, with a new kind of energy I came back to
Watching your innings against Chennai, it seemed like you were playing in the nets.
A: (laughs) Yeah, even I felt like as if I am practicing at the nets. Chennai had an excellent bowling attack. And, Balaji was full of confidence after scoring a hat-trick. So, pressure was bound to be on us. But, Chennai’s bowlers didn’t bowl in the right areas that day. They seemed to be deviating from their target and I had got to know that. I have just one mantra, that if I get to know the weak point of the bowler, I don’t let him return in the match that day.
What do you have to say about that innings where you hit century?
A: Till now, I have only been able to score 20-30 runs in all the matches that I have played so far. In the match against Chennai I was happy opening with Sachin. I had thought that from one side Sachin will deliver his excellent shots and from the other end I’ll be at my attacking best. The moment I hit the first six that day, I knew the day belonged to me. Then, there was nothing that could stop me. When I completed my century, I cannot explain the happiness I felt. At last I was relieved, when the team won because of my crucial contribution.
A: He is incredible!After the win he hugged me in such a way as if we have achieved a huge milestone. We had decided to give him a win as a welcome gift in his first match and seeing it coming from me he was quite happy.
Were you afraid while facing Murali?
A: Very much, Murali is a kind of bowler whose bowling is very difficult to understand by most of the batsmen. We may have been playing together for many years but I am still unable to read his wrong ‘uns.
What would you say about Pollock''s captaincy?
A: The best captain in today’s time. He knows all the traits of modern cricket. In the absence of Sachin, the responsibility of captaincy was upon Pollock. I used to help him in the distribution of the players in the field. It was because of the good understanding between the two of us that we were able to put up a good show. Now, that Sachin is back as the captain we both are enjoying the cricket.
T-20 is a game of youngsters. Do you agree?
A: No, I don't think so, as players of thirty-plus have put up an equal challenge with the youngsters. Yes, I think that the time as well as the definition of the cricket is changing but if you concentrate on running between the wickets and shot selection then you can be the champion in this game. The game is all about timing.
All the equations are going right so far. What are the plans ahead?
A: We were loosing the initial matches. Our franchise owners Reliance showed trust in us and supported us through our difficult times. It is now our duty to live up to their expectations. Every player in our team is now aware of his responsibilities. Our only goal is to play good cricket and lead our team to the semi-finals.
What is your message for the other teams in the coming matches?
A: Jayasuriya has woken up after eight matches. The other teams should definitely watch out.