Joining Suryakumar Yadav India Test team, his year has flourished to the fullest. Announced as a star since starting in a running spree at the Ranji Trophy in 2011-12, the Mumbai and Mumbai Indian batsman is now in the Indian team in all formats. And perhaps even at the right time, as these years of interim fighting have sharpened his skills and broadened his mind to adapt as an Indian cricket player.
While there is no doubt that Suryakumar can succeed in the longest cricket format, his choice still raises the question: why now? What brings them to the table that encourages them to bring in selectors?
Suryakumar has everything a batsman needs: a sharp eye, a strong defense, a full range of strokes, the ability to change gears when needed, and a stable temperament. An expert in the highest strokes, especially on the side of the leg, Suryakumar can provide the show with his stunning strokes, in all formats that few can repeat. And now he also has a unique reverse ball and pull to wrap the races behind the wicket: a 360-degree egg. But it can also fascinate with the strokes of the book; combined with his plain frame, his full stroke combined is not like seeing Kevin Pietersen at his best.
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Another product of Mumbai’s wealthy drummers, Suryakumar made its debut in December 2010 at the age of 20. He scored the highest goal for his team in that low-scoring match in Delhi, scoring 73, but in 2011-12 he sat them all down and warned them: he was Mumbai’s biggest runner, with 754 runs. At 68.54, with five and a half centuries, including about 200 (232b) in Odisha Cuttack.
He had a coup in 2012-13, a season he remembered for his involvement with Sachin Tendulkar before the final year of international cricket. From 2013-14 to 2017-18, Suryakumar averaged no less than 38 in the entire Ranji Trophy season.
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The disciplinary problems that surfaced in 2014-15 – there were internal clashes in the Mumbai team and he was removed from the captaincy in the middle of the tournament – would have been impossible, and overcoming mental barriers would have been more rounded. Shreyas Iyer was the next star in the sky and would eventually receive his Indian cap earlier. Shreyas, in 2014-15, got a lot of runs, even surpassing Suryakumar’s 2011-12 feat.
What revived Suryakum’s fortune was the Indian Premier League record. He only had half a century in 54 games until 2017, and then turned it around. He scored 400 or more runs (512 in 2018) in all but the last edition of the IPL. But the statement was made. He took part in the Deodhar Trophy in 2018 and has since been considered a major Indian white ball player.
Wasim Jaffer once said Sportsstar IPL performances seem necessary to detect “bigger eyes”. And he probably played a part in his selection in the Indian white ball teams this year. He may not have turned on the stage, even though he won the ODI series player in Sri Lanka in July. But he did enough to show why, at 31, he still has a bright future in the colors of India.
But why they chose it for the red ball cricket, even though there is no sign that it is considered a test option, is a mystery. Is his white ball game so good that the selectors believe he can add a new dimension to the Indian batting line-up? And where do they want to fit: in the top order or in the middle order?
The answers to these questions can be found in the coming days or not. But that seems certain: better days are coming.