Suryakumar Yadav on Ravi Shastri's role in his first-ball six off Jofra Archer
Taking on a Jofra Archer bouncer, Suryakumar Yadav hooked the speedster for a maximum behind square on the on-side.
Suryakumar Yadav unveiled the role played by the then India head coach Ravi Shastri in his tremendous first-ball six off Jofra Archer on his T20I debut in Ahmedabad last year.
Batting for India for the first time, the attacking right-hander was unfazed by the magnitude of the occasion for him and dispatched Archer for an adventurous six off a hook shot.
Recalling that shot during an interview with ESPNcricinfo's 'The Cricket Monthly', Suryakumar Yadav revealed Shastri's hand behind his exhilarating start at the international stage as he urged the batter to give England the "first punch".
In the afternoon of the game day, Shastri told his fellow Mumbaikar he is playing, which may have sent butterflies down his stomach. But he also encouraged Suryakumar to play in his naturally fearless way and if possible, make his intentions clear right at the start. Sure enough, one ball in, the world knew that Suryakumar Yadav has arrived.
The Shastri hand in SKY's Archer blast off
"On the day of the game he called me and he was like: 'Do the things you do, don't think too much, attack. First punch dena unko' [Land the first punch]. I said: 'Yes sir, I'll try and do that.' It was really motivating to hear that on the day of the game," Suryakumar Yadav said.
"I don't know what impact it would have made if he had told me before game day, but it was in the afternoon. I was having lunch and he called me and said, 'You are playing today, you are making your debut.' I was like, 'Wow, this is the day I have been waiting for'."
Suryakumar Yadav has amusing memories of how his conversation with Shastri initially rolled on as he stood blank for a while even though the coach continued his pep talk.
"I was having lunch, me and my wife. She is like, 'Your phone is ringing.' I picked it up and he [Shastri] said: 'Come down, I'm sitting at the pool.' I started getting that feeling, that, boss, there is some good news. I went and he was like, 'You will play today.' The next two-three minutes whatever he said, it was all going here and there because I was thinking to myself, 'What!? I'm making my debut today!'"
"He was like, 'Just enjoy yourself, be fearless, express yourself.' I was just dying to go on the ground that day. (smiles)."
Now when he looks back, Suryakumar recognises how critical Shastri's words were and how important the "first punch" was. From the moment he smashed Archer for a maximum, he was set for a substantial knock. The batter went on to hammer 57 off 31 balls and hasn't looked back since.