International Cricket

Suryakumar Yadav on the David Miller catch: ‘I knew I hadn’t touched the rope’

Suryakumar Yadav knew he “hadn’t touched the rope” and that he’d made the split-second decision of going all out for the catch the moment he saw Rohit Sharma further away at long-on.

Suryakumar was reflecting on the catch he took to dismiss David Miller at the long-off fence in the final over to tilt the T20 World Cup final in India’s favour.

“Rohit bhai usually never stands at long-on but at that moment he was there,” Suryakumar told The Indian Express. “So when the ball was coming, for a second I looked at him and he looked at me. I ran and my aim was to catch the ball. Had he [Rohit] been closer, I would have thrown the ball towards him. But he was nowhere close. In those four to five seconds, whatever happened, I can’t explain.”

Was the catch clean? Did Suryakumar’s foot tickle the advertising skirting? There have been several videos circling on social media that seemed to indicate there may have been the faintest of touches, even though replays are inconclusive. What did Suryakumar think of it?

“When I pushed the ball and took the catch, I knew I hadn’t touched the rope,” he said. “The only thing I was cautious about was that when I pushed the ball back inside, my feet don’t touch the rope. I knew it was a fair catch. In hindsight, anything could have happened. If the ball had gone for six, the equation would have been five balls, ten runs. We might have still won, but the margin would have been closer.”

Suryakumar revealed the method behind taking such catches, while also crediting fielding coach T Dilip for motivating the entire group by introducing the fielding medal after every match, which ensured “everyone wants to do something extra on the ground.”

“The catch I took, I have practised it at different grounds, depending on the wind,” he said. “I was standing a bit wide because Hardik [Pandya] and Rohit bhai had put a field for the wide yorker, and [David] Miller had hit straight. My mind was clear that I have to catch it come what may.

“A day before the game, we do a quality fielding session where for 10-12 minutes, we have more than ten high catches, flat catches, direct hits, slip catching. It’s not a one-day exercise, I practice these kinds of catches during IPL, during bilateral series. Yesterday’s catch was the reward of the hard work done over the years.”

Suryakumar revealed such balance and agility wouldn’t have been possible without working on his fitness. He spent four months on the sidelines from November 2023 to March 2024, recovering from a sports hernia and ankle injury. It was during this period that he worked on slimming down as part of his fitness regimen which also included working with a nutritionist.

“I remember last August, I was at around 93 kg, maybe because I was having too much local food,” he said. “I got injured and then had a hernia operation. I went to NCA from January 1 to April 1 [this year]. Even during off days, I used to not go home because I knew Monday morning would be my session. I couldn’t waste time.

“I ate proper food prepared by my chef. I used to sleep sharp at 10pm and get up early in the morning. Even now, I have decided on my meals for the next week with the help of the chef and nutritionist; they decide how much protein and fat I will have daily, how much water I need to take with my food. We have a group for it which also has my wife. They decide and I just follow. It helped me here.”

How has he soaked that moment in, along with the euphoria of being a world champion?

“In those four to five seconds, whatever happened, I can’t explain,” he said. “The amount of reaction I have been getting for that, people have been calling, messaging; there are more than 1,000 unread WhatsApp messages on my phone. The catch is all over social media. I’m grateful that I was there in those five seconds of play.”

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