'He can lap you, late cut you; he's got all the shots': Gambhir identifies 'versatile' batsman from India's T20 WC squad
The BCCI's selection committee sprung a few surprises when it announced India's 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup taking place in the UAE and Oman from October 17. R Ashwin's return to India's limited-overs setup was the biggest talking point, while MS Dhoni being named mentor was the other. But in all the euphoria, players who have been rewarded with their maiden World Cup berth tend to go unnoticed.
One such player is Suryakumar Yadav, whose rise in international cricket continues. Ever since his debut for India in the series against England at home in March, Yadav has made all the right noises and impressed his fans and peers alike. Hence, it was not much of a surprise to see him make the cut in the final 15, ahead of someone like Shikhar Dhawan. Weighing on his selection, former India batsman Gautam Gambhir feels Yadav will prove to be an excellent option for India batting at no. 4.
"Surya is a completely different class, as compared to Shreyas Iyer, he is much more versatile, he is much more unorthodox as well. In T20 cricket, you need people that are unorthodox; you want people who can hit that ball in different areas, and that is what T20 cricket is all about," Gambhir said on the Star Sports Show 'Follow The Blues – India's T20 World Cup Squad Special.
"He can lap you, he can late cut you, he can hit you over extra cover; he’s got all the shots, especially at No.4, because sometimes No.4 is the most tricky position to bat in T20 cricket, probably the easiest is the top three, but No.4, because you might be in when you have lost two early wickets and you still want to continue the momentum."
The battle for the No. 4 position was always going to be between Yadav, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. However, the Indian team could benefit by using Pant as a floater. As for getting the over Shreyas Iyer in the 15 – Iyer is one of the three reserve players travelling with the team – Gambhir feels the decision makes sense due to the following reasons.
"Sometimes you come into the middle, when you have got what... 130 for 2, and you have got to continue with the momentum. So, Surya's got both kinds of change, which probably Shreyas Iyer doesn't have. And again, you have to be mindful that he is coming after a serious injury and you never know what kind of a form he would be in the second leg of IPL as well. So, they've gone with someone, who has done really well, since he has gone into international cricket," the former India opener added.