“When I started watching him play cricket after his coaches told me there was something about this boy, I was surprised. The way he was hitting the ball, he was too good,” recalls Prashant Shedge. His soon to be 15 year old son Suryansh was just about 11 years of age when Prashant realized that he could be cut out for a career in the sport. About four years later, having cemented his place in the Mumbai U-16 state team, Suryansh believes it too.
A top order batsman who idolizes Virat Kohli for his aggressive approach and Rahul Dravid for his temperament, Suryansh studies at Gundecha International School in Mumbai.
Excelling at sports like swimming and table tennis from a young age, it was cricket which eventually settled closest to his heart. However, it all started in rather unassuming circumstances.
“I went to this sports shop called RK Sports in Mumbai when I was about 9 years old. It was to buy either pads or gloves, I don’t recall, but they suggested me to go to Dahisar Sports Club,” Suryansh says. “It was there that I practiced under Nayan Mistry for about one and a half years. I learnt all my basics from him, and he worked tirelessly with me for about one and a half years.”
Soon, word got around of a prodigious top order batsman around the youth cricket circles of Mumbai. There are many youngsters who can bat, but what sets Suryansh apart from the rest is the incredible pace at which he gets his runs. This is a boy who has a triple century to his name in a Giles Shield match in 2017, where he scored an unbeaten 326 in just 137 balls.
Talking about the innings for his school against SPSS Mumbadevi, he says, “It was the second match of the Giles Shield. I had a blank mind when I went out to bat in the third over and I completed my century in the eleventh over. I scored 326*, but I could have gotten even more runs. It was a 45 over match and the other team only bowled 40 overs, so they got a penalty for the remaining five overs. Maybe I could have gone on to score 375 had that not happened!”
But ask Suryansh about his most memorable innings, and it’s another one that comes to mind first. In his own words, “Last year I played Giles Shield, we had qualified for the elite division and we were playing against the title holders, the favourites, Rizvi School. We could’ve gotten them all out for 150 in that match but they scored 400 eventually. When we came out to bat, three wickets fell in quick succession. I was one down and I watched two batsmen get out. I took the responsibility upon myself to build the innings from there and win the match for my school, for the school’s pride. Eventually it turned out to be great, I scored 196.”
Currently training at the Sanjeevani Cricket Academy under ex-Ranji cricketer Manish Bangera, Suryansh says he is someone he looks up to. “He told me how to play in different situations, when to hit, when to contain, etc. He gave me experience and exposure and is one of the people I idolize. My game resembles his game and I look up to him greatly,” he says.
Suryansh was just 12 years of age when he first played U-14 cricket for the Mumbai state team, and says it was that experience which made him stronger. He was sent back from the team after just two matches, but still eligible to play in that age group for another year, he came back after having worked on his game. The next time he made an appearance, he smashed three centuries and a fifty in four games, and finished with an average of over 120. No mean feat at any level.
To play in the Kanga league, Suryansh is currently enrolled with the Khar Gymkhana, although his father Prashant does state that they will potentially look at other clubs that he can represent in the future. He is quick to underline how he recently also took a five wicket haul in a match, emphasising that there are not many batting all-rounders that bowl medium pace as well – another one of this budding cricketer’s special abilities.
But what about the future?
Suryansh says, “My first aim is to improve my fitness. I’m already fit but there’s always room for improvement. I can also work on my fielding and improve my temperament. If I improve my temperament, if I know when to stay calm and when to hit, when to build my innings, I can score consistently in every match. Immediate aim is to perform in every match I get, no matter who the opponent is. My target is to represent India at the 2020 U-19 World Cup,” he signs off.