Exclusive Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal: "Jumping out" from tough times to become Bengal's star of the season

Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal, in his debut season was one of the stars for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy 2023-24 season taking 31 wickets in just 6 games with an excellent average of 13.06

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Koushik Biswas
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Exclusive Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal: "Jumping out" from tough times to become Bengal's star of the season

Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal shared his thoughts on his debut season for Bengal in an exclusive interview with Sportz Point.

The Bengal Men's Cricket team finished yet another season without any trophy. From Syed Mushtaq Ali, and Vijay Hazare to Ranji Trophy, Bengal have failed to bring glory to the state yet another year. But, in a season where the team management had to bring some new faces to the front, only Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal came up as a hero for the team. 6 games, 9 innings, 31 wickets at an average of 13.06, Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal had a fantastic senior team debut season to remember. In an exclusive interview with Sportz Point, Suraj shared his thoughts on his debut season.

When the Bengal Ranji Trophy team was announced, Sportz Point was one of the first to announce the team from Eden Gardens and Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal was one of the names listed on that list. Bengal was supposed to miss their leading bowler Mukesh Kumar. Though Suraj was touted to be picked for the Andhra game, he had to wait till the second game in Kanpur against Uttar Pradesh to make his first-class debut.

Suraj looked good with his 4 wickets in the first game but looked better in the Chattishagrh match in Kolkata, where he bowled 23 overs, gave away just 29 runs and took 4 wickets. In the next game against Assam, away from home, Suraj looked more lethal with his line and length, taking his maiden five-wicket haul in the second innings along with a three-for in the first innings.

Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal won the player of the match medalfor his 8-wicket haul against Assam in Ranji Trophy 2023-24  Image | CAB
Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal won the player of the match medalfor his 8-wicket haul against Assam in Ranji Trophy 2023-24 Image | CAB

In the Mumbai match, Suraj claimed back-to-back five-wicket hauls, taking six wickets in the first innings while bowling long spells. He bowled 32 out of 94 overs Bengal bowled at Eden Gardens. Although the season didn't go well for Bengal, Suraj ensured that everyone would remember his name after his season.

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Although Suraj had to fill the big boots of Mukesh Kumar, he saw it as an opportunity to shine. "Obviously, it was difficult to replace bowlers like Mukesh Kumar and Akashdeep, but I knew that this was my opportunity to do well and learn from them if I get the chance to play alongside them," Suraj told Sportz Point.

"I was prepared to take the opportunity and do what I was doing with my club teams in all these days. I knew that I had to use my strength of bowling line and length, and the rest will be taken care of," Suraj expressed.

For a newcomer like Suraj, he needed the freedom and support from senior players and coaches to settle in at the first-class level, which he received from coaches like Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Shib Shankar Paul, and seniors like Manoj Tiwary and Anustup Majumdar. "Laxmi da, Manoj da, and coaches supported me well and gave me the freedom to go all out and keep doing what I was doing at the club level," Jaiswal stated.

Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal recieved his debut capt from Shib Shankar Paul   Image | CAB
Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal recieved his debut capt from Shib Shankar Paul Image | CAB

Before getting the maiden call-up for the senior Bengal team, Suraj was in red-hot form for Customs Club in Kolkata First-Division League. He feels that not having any expectations helped him to focus on what was in his hands. "I knew I was bowling well. But, I did not have any expectations this time. Last season, I was dropped from the team. So, I just wanted to focus on the tasks I had on my hand."

Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal in his bowling stride at Eden Gardens.  Image | CAB
Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal in his bowling stride at Eden Gardens. Image | CAB

Suraj's bowling action is different from the typical copy-book action, and he jumps out in his loading while bowling. Rahul Deb, the coach of Customs Club, mentioned before his debut that it would be difficult for someone new to face him because his bowling action brings a difficult angle for the batters.

"Yes, I have a different bowling action. But, my coach Sanjay Bagui sir always used to tell me about Imran Khan, who used to jump out in his bowling action as well. So, he used to tell me that if he can play with that bowling action, why can't I? Now, I used the jump as a strength with the natural ability to swing and move the ball both ways," Suraj expressed.

Additionally, Suraj has the strength of bowling for long spells, which was seen against Mumbai at Eden Gardens where he bowled 32 out of 94 overs for Bengal. Suraj never minded bowling long spells and has been doing this since his under-age cricket. And as per him, bowling longer spells in club cricket has also helped him build that strength.

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In addition to his bowling, Suraj is very much capable with the bat in his hand as well. In the six games so far, he averages 22.33 with the bat, including a fifty in the game against Assam. "I have worked hard on my batting since last year. I used to spend one and a half hours every day on my batting with my coach. I wish to contribute more with the bat," Suraj stated.

Suraj has been playing for the Bengal age-level teams since the U19 days and was part of the 2016-17 batch that won the Cooch Behar Trophy. Later on, he did well for the U-23 and U-25 teams as well, but the year 2023 taught him great lessons which the years of good times could not make him understand.

He lost his father and was dropped from the age group team for the first time in his career. He was devasted and even went into depression for a few days after that. But, just like his bowling action, he "jumped out" from the tough situation to become one of the best performers for the Bengal team this season.

"It was one of the difficult days for me. I was losing my way and briefly went into depression as well. But, my mother, brother and coach were there to support and guide me through that period. I started working harder on myself and that period made me mentally stronger and tougher."

Now after a good season, Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal knows that there will be expectations from him in the next season. And, he is fully aware of that and does not want to be a one-season wonder for Bengal. "I want to go that next level; play for the country and things like that. I will keep working hard and keep giving my all out for Bengal," Suraj shared.

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