'I can't remember…': Suryakumar Yadav's reply to Manjrekar's question on sweep shot in 1st ODI vs Australia

Sep 23, 2023 12:32 PM IST

Suryakumar Yadav did not play a single sweep shot despite facing 12 deliveries from the Australian spinners in his 49-ball stay in the middle in the 1st ODI.

It took Suryakumar Yadav 44 balls to hit his first boundary outside of the 'V' (between mid-off and mid-on) in the first ODI against Australia in Mohali. Even that flick shot down to fine leg only just missed the inverted 'V'. Before that, Surya had hit four boundaries - three in the V and one in the inverted V. For a batter that has developed a reputation of being a 360-degree player with an uncanny ability to score at every part of the ground, it was unnatural, to say the least. But his natural ways were anyway not working in ODIs. An average of 24 in 27 ODIs before Friday was the biggest proof of that.

Suryakumar Yadav talks to experts after his solid knock vs Australia
Suryakumar Yadav talks to experts after his solid knock vs Australia

The Indian team management has had to cope with a lot of criticism for persisting with Surya despite his lowly returns in 50-over cricket. These two ODIs against Australia were perhaps his last to justify his selection in India's World Cup Surya did that in style. He dug deep, bringing all his domestic experience into play - he averages 34 in List A cricket and scores at an average of 43 in First-class cricket.

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Surya's first boundary was a ramp shot off Pat Cummins and that was it. It was the only glimpse of Suyra the T20 batter on Friday. His next three boundaries were straight drives. Two of them came when Marcus Stoinis overpitched but the best of the lot was when he stood tool, rode the bounce and punched Saen Abbott straight down the ground. In between there were of lot of singles mostly in the V... again. Suryak's genuine effort in curbing his natural instincts was evident.

He did not play a single sweep shot despite facing 12 deliveries from the Australian spinners in his 49-ball stay in the middle. That is his go-to shot in all forms of the game. He doesn't shy away from going down on his knees even to the medium pacers to pepper the gap between fine leg and square leg. In fact, he has gotten off the mark with the sweep shot against the spinners quite often in international cricket. His only boundary on his Test debut was a sweep off off-spinner Todd Murphy on his second ball.

This may not seem as strong a meditation as Sachin Tendulkar completely ignoring his most productive shot - the cover drive - in the Sydney Test against Australia to end up scoring a double century but Surya not playing a sweep shot in his entire innings is certainly something that did not miss the eye.

Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar was quite vocal about that in his commentary stint. He did not forget to ask Surya about that in the post-match interview for Jio Cinema.

"I can't remember," said Surya when Manjrekar asked him about his last innings without a sweep shot. "I think it's the first time I haven't played a sweep."

But what about his straight drives? Surya credited Chandrakant Pandit, someone who has worked with SKY a lot when he was the coach of Mumbai. "This has come from the Chandu Pandit school of arts (on his straight drives)," he said.

Ideally, India would never want Suryakumar to change his approach or ditch the sweep shot but the fact that he showed that he can get runs by doing that speaks volumes about his adaptability and explains the reasons why the Indian team management wants him so badly in their World Cup plans.

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