Suryakumar Yadav’s 68 off 40 balls on a pacy Perth track against South Africa when the next highest Indian score was 15 has caught the eye of the world.
Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq would hail him as the best middle-order batsman in the world in T20.
“He is the best middle-order batsman in T20 cricket. At 170 strike rate, in this match situation, against this bowling, on this pitch, it’s amazing. I haven’t seen an innings like that. To play a dominating innings like that on this pitch …it seemed as if he knew where the ball would land and where he can hit it.” Misbah told A Sports.
His co-panellist Shoaib Malik would offer his reasons for Surya’s success.
“The reason for his success and consistency is that he doesn’t change his game. Even when he gets out in 2 innings, the way of his playing is the same. Yes, he assesses the conditions and the bowlers well and decides what shots can work. He also plays with the minds of the bowlers. He knows what the bowler will bowl: this one will be outside off, this one will be short or at me.
I would give the example of AB de Villiers here. He would know ok the bowler has bowled a yorker now, he will bowl a slow bouncer here or outside off stump,” Malik said.
In their pre-game talk, both Malik and Misbah had talked about Suryakumar’s battle against South Africans.
“He will need a big heart to play that lap shot at Perth,” Shoaib Malik, former Pakistan captain, would say about Surya Kumar Yadav ahead of India’s game against South Africa. “It will be exciting to see him,” Malik said.
Misbah-ul-Haq would point out a line of attack against Suryakumar that South Africans are likely to try.
“The fourth-stump line from a length and when the ball bounces from there. We saw him getting out against Pakistan with that length. We also saw even in the previous game against Netherlands a couple of deliveries from that length had him in some problem,” Misbah said. “South Africa have Rabada, Nortje who will use that on this bouncy pitch.”
At the end of the game, both Misbah and Shoaib would admire Suryakumar’s skill and heart.