‘He doesn’t have Virat Kohli's cover drive but is more valuable than any other Indian batter': Gambhir on Suryakumar
Suryakumar's strike-rate makes him more valuable in the Indian T20I than any other batter including Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
Suryakumar Yadav and Gautam Gambhir go back a long way. In 2014, it was Gambhir who roped in Suryakumar from Mumbai Indians after he had played only one match for MI in IPL 2013. In the next four seasons, SKY, as Suryakumar is popularly known as, played 54 matches for KKR and made a name for himself as a finisher. His batting rose to another level when MI got him back from KKR in 2018 and gave him a position in the top order. A couple of years later Gambhir said releasing SKY was KKR's 'biggest loss.' Cut to present, Suryakumar is the No.1-ranked T20I batter in the world and is one of India's biggest hopes in the ongoing T20 World Cup.
Gambhir, never a fan of sugarcoating things, has always maintained right from the word go that Suryakumar is one for future and now that the right-hander has turned into a world-beater, the former India opener said the unconventional way that SKY bats is his biggest strength.
"Let's not give him names like 360, there's a lot of work to do. He's got loads of talent. Whether it is 360, 180 or 1 degree, it doesn't matter. He has the game. He knows what he's doing. When a traditional coach sees him he can say, 'he's got an open stance, he doesn't get behind the line' but he has been successful with what he has got. He has scored runs at first-class cricket and in every format. Hopefully he gets a chance in Test cricket and he'll do well," Gambhir said on Star Sports.
The former KKR captain said Suryakumar's strike-rate makes him more valuable in the Indian T20I than any other batter including Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
"He (Suryakumar) might not have the best cover drive like the others (Indian batters) but he has that 180-strike rate which is much more valuable than that of the other Indian batters," Gambhir added without taking Kohli's name but it was quite evident that he was talking about Kohli's cover drive as his comments came immediately after a segment was shown where most of the world's top cricketers picked the former India captain as best cover driver currently.
Suryakumar has had an incredible start to his international career. Ever since his debut in early 2021, SKY has played 38 T20Is, scoring 1209 runs at a staggering strike rate of 177. He has added a whole new dimension to the Indian batting order by making the No.4 spot his own. Even in this World Cup, he has done a stellar job of taking the pressure off his partner in all the innings he has played. SKY's brilliant 68-run knock against South Africa on a bouncy Perth pitch is rated by experts as one of the best knocks of the tournament.