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Suryakumar Yadav Helps India Tick Another Box Ahead of ODI World Cup 2023

Suryakumar Yadav smashed a fine fifty ticking another box for India ahead of World Cup 2023. (AP Image)

Suryakumar Yadav smashed a fine fifty ticking another box for India ahead of World Cup 2023. (AP Image)

Suryakumar Yadav repays faith of the management with a fluent fifty vs Australia in Mohali

With every passing match, the Indian cricket team is growing in confidence and ticking the boxes they were expected to tick when all the players returned from injury lay-offs. There were plenty of burning questions and all those are being answered in an emphatic fashion now. After the middle-order puzzle finally found the right pieces, Suryakumar Yadav’s spot in the World Cup squad continued to be questioned.

The team management, however, persisted with the right-hander who has had very underwhelming returns from his ODI outings so far. Before the Mohali ODI, Surya played 27 matches and accumulated only 537 runs at a disappointing average of 24.40. There have been enough instances of Surya throwing his wicket away in the past and the inability to make that transition from T20s to ODIs was very evident.

Even in the Asia Cup 2023 contest against Bangladesh, Surya, on a wicket assisting spin, kept sweeping like there’s no tomorrow. He didn’t seem to have a plan and was constantly looking for that boundary. That urge made him look restless in the middle and he went for a sweep off Shakib Al Hasan but failed to make the connection. The ball crashed into the stumps and Surya made the long walk back and put India in a real spot of bother.

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He had a partnership going with in-form Shubman Gill and could well have looked to rotate the strike and take the game deeper. That wasn’t the case in Colombo but he wrote a different script in the 1st ODI vs Australia in Mohali. Yes, the conditions were ideal for batting but Surya didn’t do anything silly and kept the scoreboard ticking without taking any major risks. The boundaries came along, without him looking desperately for them, and he looked in much better space than he has in his ODI career so far.

Ever since he made his debut against Sri Lanka in Colombo, Surya has been under the scanner for the way he goes about in the format. The team management has continued to back his skills and even tried him from No.3 to No.7. For a decent period, the right-hander was persisted with at No.5 position but below-par returns meant a new strategy was devised to make the best use of his services. It was decided from the West Indies tour that he would now bat at No.6 and give the push towards the end of the innings.

Still early days, but this is the number he should look to make his own and approach every inning like a T20. He wouldn’t get to face many deliveries in this position and it could well allow him to master the format.

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The Surya “impact”

On the eve of the match, coach Rahul Dravid explained why management continues to back Surya and the “impact” which he can have on a match.

“We back him because he has quality and ability that we have seen. Yes, we know we have at the moment seen it in T20 cricket but we know the kind of impact a player like him can make. He can change course of a game and we completely back him, we are clear about that and there is total clarity on the fact that we are completely behind him and hopefully he will be able to turn it around. Hopefully, he is someone who will get these three games and at least the first couple certainly to be able to develop and continue his journey as a ODI cricketer,” Dravid had said.

A long way to go but Surya repaid the faith with a very pleasing 49-ball fifty against Australia and allows the management to tick another crucial box ahead of the 50-over World Cup next month.

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