regular-article-logo Thursday, 01 June 2023

Suryakumar Yadav at No.6 to crack the ODI code

A talent like Surya needs to be given a longer run as we all know how devastating he can be, says BCCI source

Sayak Banerjee Calcutta Published 21.03.23, 04:49 AM
Suryakumar Yadav at practice.

Suryakumar Yadav at practice. PTI picture

Sensational in T20s, struggler in one-dayers. The contrast sums up Suryakumar Yadav’s career so far in international cricket.

To be fair to Surya, who’s yet to open his account in the ongoing ODI series against Australia after getting a king pair, he’s not the only Indian batsman to be troubled by Mitchell Starc. Even those who were hitting centuries at will over the last couple of months have also probably been able to gauge the difference between the bowling attack of Australia and that of a weak Sri Lanka or New Zealand’s second-string bowlers.


That said, in Surya’s case, his lean patch in the 50-overs format dates back to India’s tour of England. In his last 14 ODI innings (including those one-dayers against England), Surya’s highest score is an unbeaten 34 in an abandoned game against New Zealand in Hamilton last December. The last time he scored a half-century was in February 2022 in Ahmedabad against the West Indies.

So where exactly lies his problem in ODI cricket? “It may be a problem mindset-wise as he hasn’t been able to replicate his T20 success in this format. Besides, with ODIs being a compressed form of Test cricket, bowlers can afford to bowl with attacking fields and look to take wickets whereas in T20s, they focus mainly on the containing job.

“But if you look back at SKY’s identical lbw dismissals in these two matches, there appears to be a problem with his footwork,” former national selector Devang Gandhi explained.

“He seems to go across the line of the ball when he should be beside. So before the decider (in Chennai on Wednesday), what he can do is face a left-arm quick at nets, standing a yard or two outside the crease as the pace of Starc and the other left-armers isn’t the same.

“Also, he can take throwdowns from the (throwdown) specialists in the squad. That too can help,” Devang added.

However, what bodes well for Surya is the backing he’s getting from captain Rohit Sharma, who iterated that “guys with potential will be given some run”. It has been learnt that even the national selection committee is in favour of giving Surya an extended run considering his skills and the bagful of strokes he can unleash.

“Yes, he (Surya) got out in the last two games and in the series before as well. But he needs that consistent run, like back-to-back games, seven to eight or even 10 games like that so that he feels more comfortable,” Rohit had said after India’s 10-wicket loss to Australia in the second ODI in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

“The selectors are keeping everything on record. But when it comes to Surya, they seem to be on the same page with Rohit,” a BCCI source said.

“A talent like Surya needs to be given a longer run as we all know how devastating he can be. Agreed, he looked out of sorts in these two ODIs, but for a player like him, more opportunities should certainly be due.

“Even Rishabh Pant hasn’t been as successful as he should have been in limited-overs cricket. But the team has been patient with him. So Surya, too, will most likely be given a little more time to prove himself in ODIs.”

The right slot

Given his finishing prowess, will sending him down the order instead at No.4 make matters a tad easier for Surya? “With KL (Rahul) at No.4 and Hardik (Pandya) at five, slotting Surya at No.6 may not be a bad idea as everyone knows how good a finisher he is,” Devang agreed.

With uncertainty hovering over Shreyas Iyer andPant, India do need an in-form Surya going into the World Cup this October-November.

Follow us on: