Watching Suryakumar Yadav bat is an inexhaustible joie de vivre and India head coach Rahul Dravid believes that he is staging a spectacle every time he is on the 22 yards. Each one better than the previous one and unforgettable at times. “I think he has been absolutely phenomenal for us. He is just a joy to watch. It’s a pleasure to watch him bat when he’s in that kind of form. Every time, it’s like he puts on a show, without a doubt,” said Dravid after India beat Zimbabwe by 71 runs here on Sunday to confirm a semi-final date with England in the T20 World Cup.
SKY, as he is known in the cricketing ecosystem, blasted 61 off 25 balls against Zimbabwe.
“Yeah, it’s incredible. That’s why he is the No. 1 T20 player in the world at the moment,” said the head coach about the magnificent knock.
With 225 runs, he is the second highest scorer in the Indian team in this competition.
Only Virat Kohli (246) has scored more than him, but, at 193.96, Surya’s strike rate has been absolutely jaw dropping.
“It’s not easy to be consistent with the kind of strike rate he’s going at. So, it’s just fantastic the way he’s playing. I think he’s been very clear in his processes. He’s very clear about his tactics,” said the coach, who in his playing days was known for his immaculate technique and copybook strokes.
But if you think there has been no method to his madness, then you are wrong. Suryakumar has reached the top after incredible hard work and sacrifices.
“I think he’s (Surya) worked very hard. I think one of the things about Surya is just the amount of hard work that he’s put in in the nets, in thinking about his game, his fitness.” The work on fitness had helped Kohli hit his peak few years ago and that is happening with Surya in the shortest format.
“If I look at Surya from a couple of years ago, just to see how he takes care of his body and the amount of time he spends on his fitness, I think he’s just really earning the reward for a lot of the hard work that he’s put in on and off the field, and long may it continue,” the smiling coach didn’t want to jinx this form.
Surya isn’t a spring chicken but free-spirited: Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin is an articulate man, and when he gives a lowdown on what Surya’s knocks mean to the team, one has to sit back and listen.
“The way Surya is batting, it is wonderful (to watch). Free spirited, free will and he ain’t a spring chicken but he is at a pretty early stage in his international career where he is able to express himself.
“The shots that he is playing, he is correctly complementing a lot of other batters in the team,” Ashwin, who also had a good game against Zimbabwe said during an interaction in mixed zone.
Ashwin then did a technical analysis of what makes Surya special. He is one of those players, who, with his 360 degree approach, is easily employing the sweeps and reverse sweeps even against pacers.
In the Indian team, the top three — KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli — are players who prefer to hit the slow bowlers down the ground and that is exactly where Surya comes into play.
“In our team, every one is countering the slow bowlers well. The reason is sweep and reverse sweep as you can’t just be hitting the spinners down the ground. If it merges with people who can sweep and reverse sweep, it gives you an edge.” Asked to describe Surya’s slog sweeps by fetching deliveries from pacer Richard Ngarava from outside the off-stump, Ashwin said that he is hardly surprised.
“Kya describe karroon sir? Sweep shot hai. Aap expect nahi karoge fast bowler ko koi lap wala sweep marega, but surya yeh saab khelta hai. (What do I describe? It’s a sweep shot and you might not expect that Surya can sweep a fast bowler but we know that he plays these kinds of shots often than not).” Ashwin drew a parallel with what the great Muttiah Muralitharan used to tell him in his initial years at Chennai Super Kings.
“As a bowler it’s wonderful, you are getting more runs to defend. Like anybody else, I used to play for CSK and Murali used to sit outside and he would still be urging the batters to score more runs. That’s not enough, that’s not enough, looking from outside, nothing looks enough.”
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