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World No.1 T20I batter Suryakumar Yadav struggling big time in recent times; What is afflicting him?

World No.1 T20I batter Suryakumar Yadav struggling big time in recent times; What is afflicting him? In the last 10 innings which includes IPL and international cricket, Surya has scored only 121 runs at an average of 13.44 (of which 97 came in the NZ T20I series alone).

IPL 2023: Suryakumar Yadav's continuous failure has raised eyebrows | Walking wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
Surya's continuous failure has raised eyebrows (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

Suryakumar Yadav, as we all know is currently the World No.1 batter as far as ICC T20I Rankings are concerned and has dominated the international scene in the shortest format of the game ever since making his debut.

There is no denying the fact that Surya is one of the most gifted players when it comes to T20I cricket. His fearless approach and ability to manoeuvre the ball as per his wish from ball 1 coupled with the skillset to play different kind of shots in the book make him a complete batter in this format of the game.

Surya was the leading run-getter in T20Is in 2022

Surya was the leading run-getter in T20Is in 2022, having made 1164 runs in 31 games and this includes 2 centuries (1 each in New Zealand and England). Above all this, Surya scored the runs at a strike rate of 187.56 while averaging above 46. These are just stunning numbers and the right-hander’s dream run continued in T20Is in 2023 as well. In the 6 innings this year, Surya scored 267 runs at a strike rate of over 152 and made his third T20I century in the process, this time against Sri Lanka.

It seemed that 2023 will be yet another sensational year for SKY after seeing the way he started in the T20I format of the game. But as we know, the game of cricket is a great leveller, and the batter has found that in a hard way. Though he has been successful in T20Is, SKY was not able to reciprocate the same success as far as ODIs are concerned. He managed to score only 49 runs across 4 ODI innings in the home series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

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 registered three ducks in ODIs against Australia (Photo: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Downfall started from duels against Australia at home in 2023

In the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23, Surya made his Test debut in the first match of the series and failed to impress in the only innings he played for India in the format. He could manage only 8 runs as the replacement for Shreyas Iyer but his real ordeal started once the Test series was over.

In the following ODI series against the same team, Surya was billed as the replacement for Shreyas Iyer who was ruled out due to a back injury and this meant SKY had the opportunity to seal a position for himself at the coveted No.4 spot going into the World Cup. But Surya would want to forget what transpired in the three-match ODI series against Australia.

The right-hander became the talk of the town once again but for all the wrong reasons. Surya grabbed a first-ball duck in each of the three ODIs and this effectively destroyed his chances of representing India at the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in India.

However, this is just an understatement as this particular series has dented the morale of Suryakumar Yadav and he looks visibly at bay post that forgettable ordeal he endured as a batter. This has continued even in ongoing IPL where he represents the 5-time champions Mumbai Indians. In the 3 matches he has played so far, Surya has scores of 15, 1 and 0, and he really looks a pale shadow of himself.

So, cumulatively if we take a look at Surya’s numbers in the last 10 innings which includes IPL and international cricket, he has scored only 121 runs at an average of 13.44 (of which 97 came in the NZ T20I series alone). These are really appalling returns for a star who was starting to build a name for himself at the international arena. What is even more concerning is that Surya has made 4 first-ball ducks in these 10 innings and has looked out of sorts.

Reasons for Suryakumar Yadav’s downfall: Is it a technical shortcoming or he has some mental block that is taking him nowhere?

Suryakumar Yadav is one batter who looks to be aggressive from ball 1 and is always busy when at the crease. He never allows the bowler to settle and has the ability to play three or more shots for the same delivery which makes him stand apart from others. But during this said period, Surya either has not gotten a chance to establish himself at the crease (4 scores of ducks) or has been under-confident as seen during Mumbai Indians' opening game against RCB this IPL where he made 15 off 16. The Surya we know would have not scored at a less than 100 strike rate and rarely takes time to settle. And something is clearly not right with the batter, and it is clearly visible.

He gets out to the deliveries that would fetch him runs 10 times out of 10 and this poor run of form has rubbed onto his fielding as well. He dropped a sitter on the boundary against the Delhi Capitals and capped a blow above his eye. Against CSK, Surya was caught behind down the leg and then had a long conversation with MS Dhoni post the match. However, that didn’t work as in the very next game, Surya was caught at deep backward point to a nothing delivery from Anrich Nortje.

Also, there is a possibility that bowlers have found way to negate his run-scoring prowess in the early phase. As mentioned, Surya is someone who scores at a brisk pace (normally at over 150) even in the early part of innings and never lets a bowler bowl at him in a single area. But now after a string of ducks, Surya has taken time to settle at the crease.

If we take a glance at Surya’s dismissals in the ODIs against Australia, it was the in-swinging deliveries that got him twice in 2 games. SKY has a high back lift and Starc’s natural angle coupled with pace exploited that to a great effect.

So, we can infer that Surya’s current search for runs can be attributed to both technical and mental aspects of his game.

Can he overcome from his lean patch?

It is not that Surya has endured this poor run of form for months but in this age a string of failures is enough to criticise even the best. This phase can happen to any batter and most notably we have recently seen Virat Kohli coming out of a prolonged century-less drought.

And the good thing for Surya is that he is playing his favourite format presently and Mumbai Indians would hope that the 360-degree batter once again finds his groove, or else it is definitely a cause of concern for them this season.


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