Suryakumar is the new Mr 360, without him India will struggle to get 140-150: Gavaskar
Suryakumar Yadav has evolved into the new Mr 360 degree and India will struggle to put up enough runs on the board if he fails to fire, says batting great Sunil Gavaskar.
Suryakumar, the world's number one T20 batter at the moment, has dazzled in his maiden T20 World Cup, playing scintillating innings in the Super 12 stage to help India reach the semifinals of the marquee event.
Against Zimbabwe, he smashed an unbeaten 61 off 25, sending the ball to every corner of the field.
"Each of those innings was pretty much 360 degrees. He is the new Mr. 360 degree. There was that one shot that he hit for a six just to the left of the wicketkeeper. Then he went a little squarer in the final overs, for example, taking advantage of the angle that the bowler was trying to aim at.
"Then also the lofted extra cover drive, he has got every shot in the book. There was a straight drive as well," Gavaskar was quoted as saying on India Today.
The former India captain feels Suryakumar is the reason India has succeeded in scoring totals they could defend.
"He is actually turning out to be the player who is taking India to totals which you can defend. The score India got was the highest T20I score at the MCG. Without his 61 not out, India would not have reached even 150," he stated.
The under-fire Rahul returned to form with back-to-back half centuries in India's last two games against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
Gavaskar said if Suryakumar fails Rahul will need to take charge.
"I think at the moment, there are two batters who are in prime form, Kohli and Suryakumar. It was also good to see KL Rahul get yet another half-century, but he has to look to get more than that for a simple reason.
"If Surya doesn't fire, then India will struggle to get 140-150. It's therefore very important for Rahul to keep going," Gavaskar added.
'Let's hope Rohit is saving the runs for the next two matches'
Skipper Rohit Sharma is having an underwhelming World Cup by his standards.
The opener has scored just 89 runs in five matches, with his only substantial knock being 53 against the Netherlands.
"Well, let's just hope he is saving the runs for the next two matches. They are going to be the biggest matches. In a group game, you know there's another game to follow, so you maybe sometimes try a little too much and get out.
"Now, these are knockout games. In a knockout game, you can't afford to experiment too much. You need to be at your best. Let's hope that Rohit comes good," Gavaskar said.
Rohit hasn't been able to provide India with solid starts and the pull, which is his trademark shot, has been his undoing in Australia.
"What's been happening is, he himself, as the captain of the team, has set this template in the first 6 overs to go bang, bang, and bang.
"Suddenly, he can't be seen looking to work the ball around. He is always a good puller of the ball. But on Australian boundaries, that pull shot has got him into trouble.
"We saw that two years ago as well, he got out twice by playing the pull shot after having scored 40-50 runs (in Tests). That's got him into trouble again.
"In a T20 format with just just one fielder in the first 6 overs, he has got to be mindful of the fielder and play the pull shot. It's a productive shot for him, let's not forget that," Gavaskar added.