Despite being one of world’s best batter in the shortest format and securing his place in India’s squad for the upcoming World Cup, Suryakumar has struggled in ODIs, boasting a modest average of 24.33, with just two half-centuries in 24 innings and a strike rate of 101.38.
Interestingly, Suryakumar, who has modeled his batting style on De Villiers’ 360-degree hitting approach, has garnered admiration from the former South African captain.”You guys know I’m a big fan (of Surya). He plays in a similar manner to how I used to play, but in ODIs he hasn’t cracked it yet,” the South African said on his YouTube channel ‘AB de Villiers 360’.
“It is a tiny little mind switch that he’s got to make, and he’s got all the ability and capabilities that he needs to do that,” he added.
“I am very relieved to see SKY in the World Cup squad; I’m very happy about it. I hope he gets this opportunity in this World Cup,” he said.
“Looking at the balance of the Indian squad, he might not start, but a World Cup is a long tournament. So let’s see what happens then,” he added.
India cricket World Cup squad: Sanju Samson loses out again; KL Rahul gets another chance | Watch Full press conference
De Villiers also weight in on the exclusion of Sanju Samson for the World Cup. “I don’t have to say much about him. We know what he’s capable of.”
“I’ve been on the receiving end for RCB, watching him score 92 not out at the Chinnaswamy. The ball was flying all over the place. He’s also got the conventional cricket game and technique where he plays with a straight bat, plays the ball nicely. He’s got a good pull and hook shot.
“He’s got everything in his bag. It’s all in the mind and it’s a matter of adapting to ODI and gameplans and the World Cup and the pressure thereof. So yes, two great players,” he said.
De Villiers feels that Rohit Sharma’s team shouldn’t let the pressure of playing at home get to them.
“I think India’s squad is incredible, really, really strong. The only worry I have for India is playing at home. They played in India (in 2011), they won. There will be huge pressure. That’s the only big obstacle in my opinion.
“But if they can get rid of that and just free themselves up, I see no problem for India. Control what you can control. But go fearless.
“Fearless is the word I’m looking for the Indian squad. If they can do that, they’ll go a long way and most probably (they will) lift that trophy,” he said.
India open their World Cup campaign on October 8 in Chennai against Australia.
(With agency inputs)