Interview with Shiv Sunder Das
On his beginnings [Audio]
I first started playing for my state in 1992 at U-16 level. In 1993-94 I had a good season in U-19's with one double hundred and a big hundred against Bihar. That's how I got picked for the Ranji Trophy that year. I made my Ranji debut in 1993-94 against Madhya Pradesh and got 98. That was a turning point because Orissa were looking for an opener. That was the first big game for me and I did perform well.
On being a natural opener [Audio]
When I started playing cricket, I opened the innings in U-16. In between for two innings in U-19, I was shifted to the middle order. But after one year I started opening again. Opening comes naturally to me.
On his visit to the Australian Cricket Academy [Audio]
I think it was one of the best things that happened to me as a cricketer. The experience was brilliant. We had Rodney Marsh as Director of the Academy and Wayne Phillips as coach. They stressed a lot on physical fitness. Our nets were just for one and a half hours. There were also a lot of batting drills done. I think my attitude towards cricket has improved a lot. We did boxing which was a new experience. We had never done that sort of thing before. It was also a new experience to play against bowling machines. You can just set your pace and practice cuts, pulls and so on. I think all this is going to help me a lot. The Aussies are very professional. There is a stress on quality, not quantity. They're always very aggressive in their attitude, always very confident. My confidence levels have gone up after staying in Australia for six weeks.
On his stint at the National Cricket Academy [Audio]
It was very systematic. We had to maintain a diary. I never trained so hard during the off season. That way I think it was good for my cricket. We had a dietician coming twice a week. We had psychology classes. So it was a completely different thing for us. We got to learn a lot from these classes. I think it was a privilege for us when Sunil Gavaskar came to the Academy. He was there for 2-3 days. Being an opener and being my idol, he really helped me a lot. I spoke to him for about half an hour and sorted out some technical problems with him.
On how his game has tightened up [Audio]
I've improved a lot. Six months ago I was totally a different player. My footwork has improved a lot. My backfoot play is much better than what it was earlier. In Australia we did a lot of slashes and cutts and pulls. My cutting has improved a lot.
On the innings he would like to be remembered by [Audio]
I think my debut game. It was my first class debut and I had to deliver the goods for my team. I had just played a few games at U-19 level. So under the circumstances, I think that is one of the best innings I played.
On the renaissance of Orissa cricket [Audio]
It has all changed because of Debashish Mohanty and Sanjay Raul. It's just a mental block that people thought it's very difficult to play for India. Once Debashish represented India, people started believing in themselves. Personally when Mohanty played, I was very happy because it was a new era for Orissa cricket and there are a lot of youngsters coming up who're really doing well.