Suryakumar Yadav overtakes 1000-run mark in T20Is in a calendar year (2022); What exactly makes him special?
In the last league game against Zimbabwe in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, India’s innings was struggling to gain momentum as boundaries were not coming thick and fast. KL Rahul holed out in the deep while trying for a second straight six and Virat Kohli was dismissed playing a risky shot looking to accelerate, whereas Rishabh Pant was caught brilliantly in the deep by Ryan Burl.
During that phase, when Rahul and Kohli were batting, and the run rate was about 8, and being an Indian fan or cricket lover, one could have been forgiven asking for a wicket as that would bring the in-form Suryakumar Yadav into the middle.
SKY, who has lit up many matches with his powerhouse performances and quick innings, once again lived up to the expectations and cracked a match-winning knock of 25-ball 61*. He cracked 6 fours and 4 sixes in his innings. He played all the shots that are being identified with him now. The scoops over the keeper’s head, the flicks over square leg, the lofted shots over the midfield, and the slash in the third man-point region.
One shot he played was the flick over the vacant square leg region even as the opposition bowled off and wide to keep the ball out of SKY’s hitting arc. But SKY made a mockery of the strategy and field placements. He repeatedly took a giant front foot forward and flicked all those off and wide deliveries over square leg for sixes and fours to leave Zimbabwe helpless and clueless.
And when Zimbabwe hit a good length, he went underneath the ball to hit it over the keeper’s head. This type of batting, where SKY is “toying” (as television commentator Sunil Gavaskar called it) with the bowling and field placements is nothing short of genius and the India batter has gained mastery over it.
Stats prove SKY is the best batter in T20Is; gets 1000+ T20I runs in a calendar year (2022)
Among the top five run-getters in T20Is this year, Suryakumar Yadav has the best strike rate of 186.54. Surya, during his knock of 61*(25) against Zimbabwe, crossed the 1000-run mark this year at an average of 44.60 and a humungous strike rate of 186.54.
Among those five players, two are openers – Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan and Sri Lanka’s Pathum Nissanka - who frequently get the chance to score briskly in the powerplay, but their average falls below 125. The number 2 batter on the list is Rizwan who has a strike rate of 122.70, and number 5 is Nissanka who has a strike rate of 112.99. But SKY, who usually bats at number 4 when the fields are spread, is way ahead of them with a strike rate of 186.54.
Virat Kohli, who bats at number 3, has a strike rate of 139.23. Sikandar Raza, who also bats in the middle-order, comes close to SKY in terms of strike rate with 150.92. Also, SKY’s strike rate jumps close to 250 in the death overs. So, if SKY stays till the end, a good match-winning total is guaranteed for India.
Top 5 batters with most runs in T20Is in 2022
(Stats till India vs Zimbabwe match in T20 World Cup 2022 played on November 6, 2022)
Suryakumar Yadav (India)
Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan)
Sikandar Raza (Zimbabwe)
Virat Kohli (India)
Pathum Nissanka (Sri Lanka)
So, how Suryakumar Yadav keeps doing it over and over again?
Suryakumar Yadav has a lot of self-belief in his methods
This type of batting needs a lot of self-assurance and clarity. An iota of doubt will lead to mistimings, mishits and subsequently, dismissals. But Suryakumar Yadav has a lot of trust in himself and the shots he plays. He knows he can pull them off, over and over again, and trusts himself to do it. This speaks volumes of the current level of confidence SKY has in his own abilities.
If one has noticed before every delivery is bowled, SKY checks the field placements and makes mental notes or possibly creates a picture of the field placements in his head and then targets vacant areas with shots he has already premeditated and pre-guessed the length and line the bowlers will bowl to him. It means SKY is batting a step ahead of the opposition and out-thinking them.
SKY is taking the pitch and bowling attack out of the calculations
In the game against South Africa, every Indian batter struggled against the bounce that was available for the quicker bowlers at the Perth wicket. But not SKY. Even though India were reduced to 49/5 in the ninth over itself, SKY still trusted his game which has brought him success so far. Whether it’s a flat, slow or fast-paced wicket, SKY’s philosophy is to trust his shot-making skills against all kinds of pitches, conditions and bowling attacks.
He counter-attacked when India were under extreme pressure at 49/5, and took the top pacers of the world - Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada to the cleaners. He didn’t complicate things by giving respect to the pitch, conditions or the bowlers, but instead focused his attention on the gameplan came out with his usual shots, flicks, scoops, sweeps and ramps. And he pulled it off as well, just like any other day at work.
SKY in his present avatar ranks ahead of other batters due to his ability to treat the pitch, conditions and bowling attack just like any other match day, where he executes those same shots with the same disdain over and over again.
Suryakumar Yadav has great skills, no doubt
It cannot be denied that Suryakumar Yadav is a skilled batter in the T20 era where there is a need to score big and quickly. He uses his supple wrists to flick off-and-wide balls over square leg, his high bat-swing helps him generate enough pace to flick balls targeting the square leg region for sixes.
If one looks back in time, one would recall SKY’s first scoring shot in T20Is, where he played a ‘Nataraja’ shot for a six against Jofra Archer of England. That shot spoke volumes of the power he generates through his bat-swing, and his quick judgment of the ball’s line and length and getting into position early as otherwise, pulling those scoops would be never such a walk in the park for SKY. He has an open stance that allows him to free his arms and play all across the ground.
And he is not all about those flicks and scoops, but traditional drives as well. The straight drive in the end overs in the Zimbabwe game amid all his scoops and flicks show SKY is technically sound as well, and could do well in red-ball cricket too. And above all, his sage calmness keeps him oblivious to all the chaos happening around him and helps him go after his business with routine ease.
We are seeing a once-in-a-lifetime player in SKY who is in the best phase of his cricketing career. He is way ahead of other T20I stars as he has cracked the art of T20I batting of scoring big and quickly irrespective of pitch, conditions and bowling attack. On his day, SKY is a nightmare for the opposition, a delight for the fans and a pleasure for his team.