'The colour of the ball was same, bowlers were same but...': Suryakumar Yadav after playing 'dream' innings vs Australia

Sep 23, 2023 07:26 AM IST

Suryakumar Yadav took a big step in his ODI career with a timely half-century against Australia.

Listening to Suryakumar Yadav speak is a breath of fresh air. Contrary to modern-day cricketers, he does not say the usual orthodox statements such as 'believing in the process' or 'playing my natural game'. Instead, when he confessed during the West Indies tour that his ODI numbers are pretty bad, it was something new to hear as players generally do not openly highlight their shortcomings. But this is no ordinary batter, is he?. World's No. 1 T20 batter, Suryakumar was struggling to find his feet in ODIs, and going by his own admission, it was eating him alive.

India's Suryakumar Yadav raises his bat as he celebrates scoring a fifty.(AP)
India's Suryakumar Yadav raises his bat as he celebrates scoring a fifty.(AP)

On Friday, the first ODI between India and Australia, Suryakumar took baby steps towards hopefully taking his 50-over game to the next level with a timely half-century in Mohali – his third in the format but one he will hold dear to himself for a long time to come. With this seemingly never-ending chatter around his position in India's World Cup squad as to whether he merits this unwavering support from coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma, SKY repaid their faith with a crucial 50 off 49 balls when his team desperately needed it. At 185/4, India had lost their fourth wicket for 43 runs and were stuttering when out came Surya. After numerous tries at No. 4, he was given a chance at No. 6, and with the Indian innings left with the last 17 overs, the situation presented was a page straight out of Surya's comfort zone – the T20I mould.

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And he succeeded. SKY added 80 runs with stand-in captain KL Rahul as India slowly batted Australia out of a position of win. Surya brought the game down to 12 needed off 18 balls when going for a glory shot, he perished. And while the disappointment of not finishing the job was evident on his face marked by a mix of grimace and a smile, Suryakumar found his innings pretty sweet at the end of the match.

‘That was what I was dreaming of’

"That was what I was dreaming of when I started playing this format. Try and bat till the end as much as possible and finish the game for the team. I couldn't do that today but definitely loving my new role. I have been wondering what has been happening. The colour of the ball is the same. The teams are the same. The bowlers are the same but I think I was hurrying a bit. I thought, let's take a little bit more time. Calm myself, take it slowly and try and bat deep," he said during the post-match presentation ceremony after India defeated Australia by five wickets to take 1-0 lead in the series.

When Surya took guard, memories of his last three outings against Australia – first-ball ducks earlier this year – would have come rushing back. Hence, when he defended the first ball from Pat Cummins, SKY would have breathed a sigh of relief. Suryakumar's first boundary was a ramp shot for four but this wasn't going to be one of those exciting, flashy SKY knocks. Instead, Surya gave the Aussies bowling the respect it deserved, played in the V, struck some delightful straight drives and presented a batting style mirroring the coaching manuals. Surya did not play even a single sweep shot in his inning, a choice he credited to a legendary Indian coach and expressed his desire to continue playing, and perhaps improving upon, such knocks.

"I think it's the first time I haven't played a sweep. This has come from the Chandu Pandit school of arts (on his straight drives). Really enjoyed watching the openers bat. Want to try and bat the same way, bat deep, try and win games for India," added SKY.

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