Hours before Suryakumar Yadav played a match-winning knock of 69 for India against Australia in the series decider on Sunday, the batter was down with a bad stomach bug and was nursing fever. The Hyderabad weather had gotten the better of Suryakumar ahead of the third ODI and it seemed liked that he would sit out the all-important fixture. But as they say, sportspersons are made of something we will never quite figure out. Understanding the importance of the game and what was at stake, Suryakumar knew he had to play come what may and pushed the team physio to undertake whatever measures necessary to get him match-ready.
"We were travelling and there was a change in weather too. I had a stomach ache in the morning and also had fever. But it was also a decider. I told our physio and doctor, if this was a World Cup final, how would I react? Suryakumar told BCCI.tv during an exchange with India all-rounder Axar Patel.
"I won't just sit out saying it's an illness. So do whatever, give me whatever pills or injection you want, but just get me ready for the game in the evening. Once you go into the match and wear that India jersey, the emotions are totally different."
Given the blazing knock Suryakumar played, no one could have believed his words. He was at his destructive best, from the word go. Coming in to bat at the fall of captain Rohit Sharma's wicket with the score reading 30/2, Suryakumar put the India chase back on track with a whirlwind knock. His innings included five fours and five sixes during which he struck a partnership of 104 runs with Virat Kohli. By the time he was dismissed, India needed 44 to win off 24 deliveries before the target of 188 was achieved with six wickets to spare. Suryakumar rued not being able to finish the match for India but was delighted with his performance nonetheless.
"I practice the same way as I want to bat in the match. I believe in just one thing: go and express yourself. If my success rate is above 75%, why not? I just think when I walk out, if I'm batting well, then I try to carry that phase on and try and finish off games," added Suryakumar.