New Delhi: Sai Sudarshan on Friday made his IPL 2022 debut for Gujarat Titans after Vijay Shankar was ruled out due to a back spasm. The 20-year-old left-handed batsman from Tamil Nadu got an opportunity and grabbed the opportunity.
He was the breakout star of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (IPL) 2021, where he was the second-highest run-scorer in Lika Kovai Kings’ runs with 358 runs in eight innings at an average of 71.60 and a strike rate of 143.77. Sai Sudarshan was earlier a part of Chepauk Super Gillies in TNPL but did not make his debut till last year. After impressing with his strokeplay in IPL 2021, Sai Sudarshan was fast-tracked into Tamil Nadu’s white ball and Ranji Trophy.
Sai Sudarshan comes from a very strong sports background. Her father Bhardwaj is an athlete who represented India at the South Asian (SAF) Games, while her mother Usha Bhardwaj represented Tamil Nadu in volleyball.
Sai Sudarshan brings with him the reputation of being a heavy scorer for Tamil Nadu in age group cricket. He later climbed through the ranks to bat for India A in the 2019-20 Under-19 Challenger Trophy alongside Yashasvi Jaiswal. Players like Tilak Verma, Ravi Bishnoi and Priyam Garg were part of that tournament.
Sai Sudarshan opened the session with a 43-ball 87, which saw the Salem Spartans attack under the leadership of G Periyaswamy, T Natarajan’s disciple of Chinnappampatti, and Tamil Nadu’s leading legspinner M Ashwin. Sai Sudarshan was fluent on either side of the wicket on debut, his high elbow drives bearing the colors of his state senior Washington Sundar.
During the season, Sai Sudarshan showed that he could build an innings as well as hit outs in the middle overs, something that caught the attention of the Tamil Nadu selectors.
How was his performance in the Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare tournaments?
In a mighty white ball from Tamil Nadu with M Shah Rukh Khan, Vijay Shankar, Dinesh Karthik, B Aparajith and N Jagadeesan, Sai Sudarshan largely failed at No. He made his debut in domestic cricket by scoring 35 runs in 19 balls against Maharashtra. Hit high notes in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and again against Kerala with a 31-ball 46. He took on legspinner Sudhesan Midhun and offspinner Jalaj Saxena, with seven fours from him in a back-foot late-cut off Saxena. During the Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare Trophy, Sai Sudarshan also delivered some fascinating scoops and sweeps.
Yes, he can bowl legspin though less. Sai Sudarshan pitched with an over of legspin – and took a wicket – in the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy against Bengal when M Ashwin was unavailable.
Tamil Nadu assistant coach R Prasanna had said that during the domestic white-ball season, Sai Sudarshan’s part-time legspin was often used at the nets to help Shah Rukh against slower bowlers. Now, on his IPL debut, Sai Sudarshan will be up against his TNPL captain Shahrukh, who is playing for Punjab Kings.
How much did he earn in IPL 2022 auction?
He was bought by Gujarat Titans for his base price of 20 lakhs (approximately US$ 26,000).
(with agency input)