Ricky Ponting, a former captain of Australia, believes that Suryakumar Yadav should bat at No. 4 for India in T20Is and has compared the rising star to AB de Villiers of South Africa.
When Yadav pulled a Jofra Archer short ball intended at his head for six with a quick swivel on his first international cricket ball, it was as good a sign as any of his skill and arrogance.
Still, longevity is the best sign of a really world-class player, just like with any innate skill. And to begin his tenure in the Indian shirt on a high note, Yadav built on his auspicious start with astounding performances over the course of the following year and a half.
After 23 T20I matches, Yadav is now ranked No. 2 in the MRF Tyres ICC T20 Batter Rankings, behind Pakistan captain Babar Azam. Yadav has the highest strike rate of any player to bat as frequently as he has in T20I history, at 175.45. To know more about India T20 World Cup Tickets click here.
There is no certainty that anyone will make the starting XI, though, with the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup taking place in two months and India’s batting lineup filled with amazing ability. But Yadav has supporters.
Ponting believes Yadav should be included in India’s starting XI for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup later this year since he has seen Yadav up close in his early years in Mumbai during the IPL.
“He’s a very, very exciting player and I’m sure someone that’s going to find himself in their team, not just their squad,” Ponting said on the latest episode of The ICC Review.
“I think you’d find him in their team for the T20 World Cup. And if he’s in that team, then I think all the fans in Australia are going to see a very, very good player.
“He’s quite a confident person. He backs himself and he’s never going to step down from a challenge or any situation that arises in a game. I feel he thinks he can win that situation and therefore go on and win the game for his team.”
Yadav exudes confidence every time he steps up to the plate. In Nottingham recently, India appeared to be in trouble after cashing in 216 at 31/3, but the situation swiftly changed as Yadav began to attack.
He went on to score his first T20I century, keeping India in the match the entire time he was playing.
Ponting thinks Yadav stands out from other young stars in the game because of his “self-belief in his own game and his own abilities.”
“Surya (Yadav) scores 360 degrees around the ground, a bit like an AB de Villiers did when he was in his actual prime. The lap shots, the late cuts, you know, the ramps over the keeper’s head. He can hit down the ground,” Ponting said.
“He hits really well over the leg side, flicks to deep backward square particularly well, and he’s a good player of fast bowling and is a good player of spin bowling.”
Multi-skilled T20 batters are in high demand and his skills make Yadav an enticing option in the XI for India with the tournament in Australia looming large.
Asked whether Yadav would make India’s best XI, Ponting was adamant that “he played better than anybody else in the Indian team for the last couple of series” and felt he should be slotted into the top order.
“It’s got to be in the top four, I think. I said stick with him (Virat) in his traditional spot, which has been number three,” Ponting said.
“For Surya, it’s one, two or four. I think he can open, but I think he’s probably, you know, if you could probably just keep him away from the new ball, let him control the middle part of the game outside the Powerplay, through in the middle, and if he’s in at the end, you know what can happen.”
What can happen, from the relatively small sample size so far, is mind-blowing. Yadav’s already impressive strike rate shoots up to 258.82 in the death overs in T20Is – in 34 balls he has smashed 88 runs with 15 of those deliveries going for boundaries.
“I think in the top four is, well, actually I’ll go out on a limb: I don’t want him to open. I think number four is his best spot,” Ponting declared.
Whether it is at No.4 or not will remain a talking point until the event in Australia, but there’s very little argument against Yadav having an exciting career as a prominent feature of India’s teams.
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