For a while in 2020 we had all questioned the index of making the Indian team. The one and only index should be performance. However, in the case of Surya Kumar Yadav there was reason to be believe justice wasn’t served. Surya performed superbly in the IPL. He did so consistently and also did well in domestic cricket in the 2019-2020 season. He is a gun fielder to go with his batting and importantly is versatile in the sense he can also bat at number 5 and has finished games in the past.
To his credit Surya Kumar Yadav is comfortable against both pace and spin. He has batted with equal aplomb in the powerplay and once the field restrictions are over, he is adept at maneuvering the ball and taking the innings deep.
I remember speaking to Surya when he wasn’t getting picked. My questions were clear- How does a player who is perhaps expecting a national call up take a disappointment like this? What impact can it have on his mental equilibrium? Could Surya overcome his selection blues? That’s what is the hallmark of a true champion and I have reason to believe Surya has done just that. Every opportunity he gets with the bat now for India he is treating it as a chance to remind everyone of his value. Every match is redemption for him and a platform to showcase his incredible skills and justify the tag as the world’s number one batter. In the last world T-20 in Dubai he had a stiff neck ahead of India’s second game and missed out on playing NZ, a game India lost and bowed out of the competition. Now as he finishes games for India, it is evident to one and all what the world cup means for him. He, unlike most, watches every ball of his own innings at the end of a match in a quest to improve further and with his wife there all the time to back him up is in a perfect mind space.
What has been on show in the world cup is his temperament and maturity. With Virat out against Zimbabwe, India was under pressure going into the home stretch. Surya had Hardik for company and another wicket then could have opened the game up. Surya did two things superbly- first he did not let the scoring rate go slow at any point. And second, he played the big shots to perfection. It eased the pressure on Hardik and in no time India was scoring at 9 an over. It was an excellent finish and must have given Surya and the think tank a lot of confidence. It is now time for him to build on all of it and go on to have a stand out final two games. A world cup win will complete the cycle for Surya Kumar Yadav.