If AB de Villiers is defined for bringing the 360-degree style of play into cricket, then Suryakumar Yadav is taking that definition to another level with every belligerent outing in T20Is.
On Sunday, in front of a sell-out crowd at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, Suryakumar was on song in being promoted to number three, hitting 11 fours and seven sixes all over the park at a strike-rate of 217.65 to be unbeaten on 111 off 51 balls, his second T20I century to set the base for India's 65-run win.
He credits his great run in T20Is this year to not ever getting ahead of the game. "I always try to not get ahead of the game and think that I am getting runs, so I will make these many runs because at that time, being in the present is important."
"If you think for a short period of time that I am ahead of the bowler or game, then a mistake can happen in planning. Human brain does think of ahead, but I think of being in present and try do that things in the moment," he said in the post-match press conference.
Along with his trademark strokeplay, it was the inside-out shots going over extra cover or using the pace of Lockie Ferguson which left the fans in awe both at the stadium and streaming the match from India.
"I also get amazed when I see some strokes after the match back in the room. Every time, I see the highlights, whether I am doing well or not on that day, I do watch the highlights. But I do get surprised after seeing those strokes," he added.
With a stable head position and awesome balance even while playing the jaw-dropping shots, Suryakumar also feels that his instinct while playing the match also plays a huge role. "You got to play the format irrespective of the situation you are playing. Most important thing is you should be having a gameplan in your mind, what the wicket is like, the ground dimensions, how the ball will travel etc. So, all these things, you got to keep in mind."
"Rest of the thinking, you have to do in practice sessions, and when you are sitting back in the room. If you can't think too much when you are in the game, you got to come with a little clearer mind, positive mindset and good intent while playing this format. Just enjoy yourself, that's it."
From being 57 off 35 balls at the end of the 16th over, Suryakumar smacked 54 runs off his last 16 balls to propel India to a challenging score, leaving New Zealand's bowling attack baffled over how to dislodge him from the crease.
Asked about how he gets the confidence to get runs consistently, Suryakumar remarked, "Confidence is always there that I have few runs behind my back. But at the same time, there's a very thin line between you getting a little complacent also when are coming into any game after scoring runs."
"You got to do your processes and routines the same way what you have been doing when you are doing well. 99% I try to do the same things on match days, for example - I have to do gym session or do my lunch on the perfect timing or take a power nap for 15-20 minutes."
"All these are small routines which I try to do on game days, and when I come to the ground, I feel good. So, that is my zone. Also, on off days, I spend time with my wife or speak to the parents a lot."
"The one thing which keeps me grounded is that they don't talk about the game. We don't talk about the game at all, no discussion on it and they keep me in good space, that's the most important thing. I am really happy in staying at that zone for a long time from here on."
A few years ago, there was a time when Suryakumar was churning out runs, but didn't get an India debut till March 2021. He conceded that not being handed a debut earlier was frustrating and that he's now happy on getting results of his hard work, like Sunday's century.
"I always keep going back to my past. When I am in the room, or travelling with my wife, we keep talking how the situation was two-three years ago. What is the situation now, what has changed now from then, we keep discussing that time."
"Obviously there was a bit of frustration that time but we always tried to see if there was something positive I could take out of that phase. How could I become a better cricketer, how to go one step ahead."
"After that time I tried to do different things, like eating good food, do quality practice sessions, sleeping on time, so today I am reaping the benefits of all those things I have done then."