India’s Suryakumar Yadav makes unconventional look cool and his attacking instincts make him a force to reckon with for the T20 World Cup later this year in Australia. You only had to watch Virat Kohli’s reactions on Wednesday in Dubai to realise why he is one of the best business at the moment.
Suryakumar scored 68 off 26 balls to lift India from 94/2 in 13 overs to post a mammoth 192/2 against Hong Kong in the Asia Cup T20 tournament on Wednesday.
India’s bowlers restricted Hong Kong to 152/5 as they won by 40 runs to sail into the Super Four of the six-nation tournament, which acts as a precursor to T20’s showpiece event in October-November.
Suryakumar’s batting blitz stood out and was acknowledged by star batter Kohli who had the best seat in the house at the non-striker’s end as the two put on 98 runs off 42 balls.
Kohli, who is enduring a long batting slump, made 59 off 44 balls but looked amazed with Surykumar’s show as he allowed the batter to lead the walk back after the innings ended.
“He came in and completely changed the momentum of the game on a pitch that was not as easy as he made it look to bat,” Kohli said in a chat with Suryakumar for BCCI.TV.
“It was a brilliant knock. I have seen so many from a distance when we played the IPL, but this was my first experience of watching it very closely. I was completely blown away. If he plays the way he played and if he stays in the zone, he can literally change the complexion of the whole game against any team in the world.”
Suryakumar struck six sixes including four in the last over deflate the Hong Kong attack, who had India on the defensive early on.
Suryakumar made his debut for India last year and quickly became the team’s go-to man in crunch situations with his aggressive approach.
But on Wednesday his freakish display of batting with audacious shots including the sit-down lap hit over the fine-leg region for six to the flick-of-the wrist hit over deep mid-wicket were jaw dropping.
“Some of the shots are pre-determined because this format is about how you prepare when you go into bat,” a smiling Suryakumar, known as SKY for his initials, told reporters after the win.
“But it’s important to stay in the present when you go out there.”
The 31-year-old, who has hit six half-centuries and one hundred in his 25 T20 matches at a strike rate of 177.51 for India, said he is “flexible” to bat at any position his team wants.
“I’ve told the captain and coaches I’ll play anywhere, just play me,” said Suryakumar, who was named player of the match.
Skipper Rohit Sharma, who fell for 21, also praised Suryakumar’s “fearless” batting.
A powerful striker of the cricket ball, Suryakumar made his debut in India’s top domestic competition – the Ranji Trophy – in 2010 with an impressive 73 for Mumbai. He had some eye-catching performances with Kolkata Knight Riders too.
But it was his IPL pyrotechnics with Mumbai Indians that got him recognition and a place in the national side and there has been no looking back.
Watch the full chat between Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav here.
Inputs from AFP