Over the 16 years of the tournament, superstars have been in the spotlight and unheard-of players have become celebrities overnight. There have been some breathtaking strokes at the tournament that have shocked millions of people. But even then, the 96 strokes the 21-year-old Chennai player took against the team he cheered for as a kid, the Chennai Super Kings, will hold a special place.
Now on to another important context. In the Gujarat Titans game against the Mumbai Indians, even though Sudharshan scored 43 points after 31 shots, he was forced to retire with an injury a minute before the end of the game, even though the team was already leading by over 200 points. With the introduction of the kicker rule, teams don’t even think twice before taking out a player who is struggling to enter the game, even if he scores over 130 points.
On Monday, after Shubman Gill departed, Sudharsan’s appearance at No. 3 in the eighth inning was like Gujarat was ready to take the pedal off the pedal. Out of nowhere, Chennai found an opening, and even though Vriddhiman Saha acted calmly at the other end, Sudharsan only managed 10 of 12 pitches as MC Dhoni got the Super Kings back in the game.
On the air, Tom Moody had already brought up Sudharsan’s resignation. On social media, where everything is exaggerated, the story was no different.
However, the usually lively Gujarat Titans dugout was, for a change, completely quiet. Perhaps they had already seen what the young man from Chennai, spoken of as the next big player from Tamil Nadu, was capable of. Born into a family of former athletes-father R Bharadwaj was an athlete who competed in the 1993 SAFF Games, and mother Usha Bharadwaj, a state-level volleyball player, is also his coach Sudharsan’s game plan is built on the very basics of the game: point to the ball, assess condition before you throw.
This is something Sudharsan often repeats on his to-do list before going to bed the night before a match. In an era where adapting to formats can be a challenge, Sudharsan belongs to a generation that grew up watching all three formats. A burning desire to win the Test Cup resides in him as a traditional boy, but he doesn’t look at T20 in pursuit of it. He is the quintessential next-generation Indian cricketer who wants to be the best in the formats.
At 15, he played in the Chepauk Super Gillies team in the Tamil Nadu Premier League. Then a year later he became part of the Sunmag Gro team.He was an Alwarpet CC, playing Division I cricket, and three years later transferred to the Jolly Rovers first team, for which he played a major role in defending the title this season. During the Covid years, even as cricket fell into decline, Sudharsan traveled nearly 30 kilometers a day during restrictions only to train on the outskirts of Chennai.
And after a breakthrough domestic season when he made two centuries in the Ranji Trophy, including one in his debut, and three tons in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, in the IPL Sudharsan shows he can juggle between formats. Despite only taking part in eight matches due to the combination and balance of teams, Gujarat Titans have given him tremendous support. And on Monday, it was as if Sudharsan paid them back.
He started by taking on Matish Patirana, the Super Kings’ trump card in the last 10 overs. In the next over, he threw Ravindra Jadeja over mid-wicket for six points to declare his intentions and go on the offensive.
It looked like he was repeating his homework in the middle in front of 80,000 fans. This is a player we were seeing for the first time, and seeing him go from one level to the next came as no surprise. But to do it on a big stage like the IPL final means giving him the confidence to go to the next level, Ajay Kudua, who handles operations at Jolly Rovers, told The Indian Express.
Since Tamil Nadu’s Ranji campaign ended before he joined the Gujarat Titans camp, Kudua gave him a training session on the center wicket at the IIT-Chemplast ground to prepare him for the IPL. He had a good start to his domestic career. Now it’s the next step. Preparation is a huge part of his game, so when we did the central wicket session, he asked the throwing experts to bowl from 18 yards. He repeatedly had them play difficult stretches because that’s what most bowlers do at T20. And then he would finish the session using only yorkers, Kudua said.
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Having played most of his cricket on a ground where the bounce is higher than on other grounds in the city, it’s no wonder Sudharsan is strong on both sides of the square from the back foot. His slashing strokes tend to be frenetic, which he uses with great success.
Having done all the hard work, Sudharsan now needed a little luck, which he bothMahish Thaekshana made two strikes on the ball.into the batsman’s slot, which eventually went through the ropes. Sudharsan then went on the attack, hitting Patirana with two boundaries in the 16th over. In the 17th over, which was set by Tushar Deshpande, Sudharsan single-handedly scored 19 runs off five innings and then saved his best for last, scoring Patirana several sixes before falling four short of a century.
Sudharsan scored 86 runs in 35 innings. The boy, who once played in the Junior Super Kings tournament — an event run by CSK to identify talent — made them regret their decision not to select him in the 2022 player auction.