'I was surprised. Immediately checked to see if Pant was playing the game': Former India coach on Suryakumar opening

Published on Aug 04, 2022 06:52 PM IST
  • Of the many people left puzzled by the decision was a former member of India's coaching set-up, more so because Ishan Kishan is already part of the squad and had scored a couple of fifties against South Africa at home.
Suryakumar Yadav plays a cut shot. (Getty)
Suryakumar Yadav plays a cut shot. (Getty)
By, New Delhi

When India walked out to bat in the first T20I against West Indies, one sight took everyone by surprise, that of Suryakumar Yadav opening with Rohit Sharma. This was another example of the Indian team management experimenting with the top order. With KL Rahul out injured, India stirred things up making Surya bat. This was India's second surprise at the top after Rishabh Pant was made to open a couple of times in England. The India keeper batter opened in the first two T20Is in Birmingham and Nottingham, but the ploy did not work as he scored 26 and 1.

Of the many people left puzzled by the decision was former India fielding coach R Sridhar, more so because Ishan Kishan is already part of the squad and had scored a couple of fifties against South Africa at home. Sridhar mentioned he was taken aback by the decision and added the reason and that there is certainly something that the fans are not privy to.

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"When I saw Suryakumar walking out to bat with Rohit, I was a bit surprised with that move. Immediately I checked to see if Rishabh Pant was playing the game. And he was. So obviously there is something going on there which we don't know yet. There is something happening inside the Indian change room, which we are not aware about. Otherwise, I don't see this management chopping and changing batting order that easy, because they are known to back their players and give them opportunities to show their skills and prove their mettle. So I was quite surprised when Suryakumar walked in," Sridhar said on Cricket.com.

Suryakumar scored 24 in the first game and 11 in the second but just when it seemed that the experiment is not turning out to be successful, the batter turned things around in the third T20I, scoring a fine half-century. Suryakumar's 76 off 44 balls laced with eight boundaries and four sixes set the platform for India's chase of 165, a target they eventually gunned down in 19 overs. Sridhar feels the reason behind Suryakumar opening was to get a reserve opener in case KL Rahul takes time to recover, but then again, the possibilities could be many.

"I don't know the reason why this changed was made. I really don't know. Maybe Rishabh didn't want to open. Maybe India are looking at another opening option. Obviously, KL Rahul was supposed to go for this series but he couldn't, owing to Covid and then travelling and getting used to the condition. It would have taken a lot of time so he chose to stay back. I am pretty sure this could be a stop-gap arrangement but like I said, there is probably something we don’t know," added Sridhar.

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