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SKY’s hard luck in ODI continues, will he get a chance in the World Cup playing XI?

Suryakumar Yadav deserves a chance in ODIs, here’s why but, will he get a chance in the World Cup playing XI?

ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022, Super 12, Group 2, India vs Zimbabwe_ Suryakumar Yadav scored 61 off 25 against Zimbabwe; India beat Zimbabwe _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ICC_Getty Images)
Suryakumar continues to get management backing (Photo: ©ICC/Getty Images)

Suryakumar Yadav is one of the best batters of the shortest format of the game. In the year 2022, he won the ICC T20I Player of the year award. He is well known for his innovative and aggressive style of batting, and for this reason some former cricketers and even cricket fans call him the new ‘Mr 360’.

However, the Mumbai-based cricketer hasn’t been able to repeat his peak performance from T20Is in the other formats of the game for India.

SKY made his international debut in 2021, and since then, he has played 27 ODIs and scored 537 runs at an average of 24.4. His highest score in this format is 64 runs.

He has failed on numerous occasions with the bat in ODIs, and there are many who think he is only a T20I player and are asking for his expulsion from the ODI squad. Despite this, the team management has shown a lot of faith in him, by keeping him a part of the squad announced for the upcoming India vs Australia series and the ICC World Cup 2023.

Why Suryakumar Yadav is important for India in ODI?

Yadav had a fantastic run in T20Is for India, and even in IPL he has shown his caliber. An out-an-out aggressive player, he is someone whom Team India wanted for a long time. Given that he can change the momentum and situation of the game anytime he wants, he is a big threat for any bowling attack in the world.

SKY has failed to perform at the vital No. 4 position for India in ODI cricket. However, he can be very useful for India at the No. 6 spot, where he can play his natural and attacking T20 style and will be a bigger threat during death overs.

Former Indian cricketer, Wasim Jaffer had also mentioned that Yadav should play at No. 6 in ODIs in order to play his brand of cricket. One of the possible reasons for his failure in ODIs so far can be that he hasn’t got the freedom to play aggressively, which is what he loves doing.

The Men in Blue need SKY’s T20 style batting, to add some quick runs in the last 10-20 overs, and thus they could try sending him in at the No. 6 position. He has always been a dynamic player, and it is evident that he is just finding it difficult to transition from T20Is to ODI format.

In ODI format, a player needs to have a different skill set. No. 6 is probably a good position for him in 50 overs games, at least for starters.

With the World Cup 2023 being right around the corner, the upcoming India vs. Australia series will be very crucial for SKY. Few senior players including Hardik Pandya are being rested for the first two ODIs in this series. Hence, Yadav might get a chance to play in the match, and it would be great if he can come in to bat at No. 6 against Australia.

On the flip side, it should also be noted that it would be difficult for SKY to find a permanent place at No. 6 as the team management might decide to stick with all-rounder Pandya over him. Nonetheless, SKY deserves a chance at this position to at least regain his confidence and excel, before being promoted up the order.

India vs South Africa, 2nd T20I, Top Performances_ Suryakumar Yadav scores another T20I half century for India (61 off 22) _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Surya is no. 1 T20I batter in the world at the moment (Photo: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Why is India continuing with Suryakumar Yadav in ODI even after repeated failures in the format?

Yadav has got many chances in the Team India ODI squad, even after he failed on numerous occasions. Earlier, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma had backed Yadav in ODIs. The Indian captain acknowledged the disparity in challenges between T20Is and ODIs.

He had highlighted that Yadav is diligently working hard and seeking guidance from some experienced ODI players to strengthen his mindset and attitude in this format.

Sharma feels that for a player like Yadav it is very important to give him the freedom to bat in his own style. The Skipper feels that it's okay if a batter like SKY doesn't do well in 2-3 games, because on his day he will win matches single-handedly for the team.

He is a proven match-winner in T20 cricket and continues to put the pressure on the bowling side. Almost all of his match-winning innings have come in the shortest format. This is the reason why India desperately wants him to succeed in the ODIs as he can be the ‘X’-factor in the second power-play.

Batting teams prefer having their most destructive middle-order batter at the crease during second power-play and that's where he can be the most dangerous for the opponents. This is one big reason why Team India management continues to back and support him, even after multiple forgettable outings in ODIs.

Will he get a chance in the World Cup playing XI?

In a team where there is very strong competition for every slot, there is a reason why Yadav is being backed by the management. In fact, there are very few players like him globally who can tackle pace and spin equally well and hit shots arounds the ground.

Talking about the World Cup squad, with KL Rahul now being completely fit the No. 5 slot is locked for him. With Hardik Pandya at No. 6 and Ravindra Jadeja at No. 7, the only spot where Surya could fit in the Indian side is at No. 4. Shreyas Iyer’s availability might make it difficult for Yadav to make his way into the playing XI for World Cup games.

Iyer is one of the best No. 4 batters currently for India, and has a better ODI record. However, if he struggles to find form in the group stage games, it is crucial that India has the right back-up option at no. 4. And that’s exactly where SKY could fit.

Despite all the past performances, former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh feels SKY should be there in the starting XI in the World Cup. He feels Yadav has got what it takes to shine in the challenging middle-order role in ODIs.

Thus, it is apparent that due to the tough competition, the series against Australia which is about to start from September 22 is going to be crucial for Yadav. He will have to perform and prove his worth to earn his spot in the World Cup playing XI.


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