Why is Suryakumar Yadav a hit in T20s but a miss in ODIs? The answer to this question remains elusive. Could the change in nature of the two white-ball formats truly be significant enough to explain why the world’s top-ranked T20I batter finds it challenging to replicate his success in the 50-over format? In all honesty, mastering both formats is an art not many have succeeded in. Stalwarts Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, who share the dressing room with SKY, are two names that come to mind, but drawing parallels is unjustified due to the stark contrasts in their playing styles and that of Surya.
Suryakumar is outrageous, and flamboyant in his strokeplay. He is 360. Heck, some even call him 720… this era’s AB de Villiers, but somehow, his ODI returns are pretty ordinary for someone so amazing in T20s. This year itself, Suryakumar has smashed two centuries – one for India and another for Mumbai Indians in the IPL. With 433 runs from 11 T20Is in 2023, SKY could very much repeat his exploits from last year, but at the same time, his ODI figures are a concerning 511 from 26 matches – he was dismissed for a hat-trick of golden ducks against Australia at home just before the IPL.
SKY himself admitted during the West Indies T20Is, where he scored 83 and 61 in two T20Is, that his ODI figures are poor – an admission you don’t see many modern-day cricketers making – but with the Asia Cup 2023 approaching, SKY promises to get rid of this baggage.
“I will try and perform the role assigned to me. This is one format I am really looking to do well. Everyone keeps saying that my T20 is going well but why can’t I crack the ODI code? That’s the exact word but I am practicing. I feel this is the most challenging format. You need to play all three formats in one – first with patience, then strike rotation and hit towards the end like T20 type,” Suryakumar said on the ‘Follow the Blues’ Show on Star Sports.
The 32-year-old said he has been in constant with captain Rohit Sharma, head coach Rahul Dravid and former skipper Virat Kohli.
“I have been speaking with Rahul sir, Rohit, and Virat so hopefully I will ‘crack this code’ starting this tournament. At least I am trying to maintain the same intent and approach. That shouldn’t change, but I’m trying to play more according to the situation. For example, if I am coming to bat in the 30th over, I can’t play like a T20I.”
‘I always play in top gear’: Suryakumar’s recipe for success
The team management’s immense faith in Suryakumar Yadav is evident through his inclusion in India’s 17-member squad for the Asia Cup. With KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer returning to secure the No. 4 and No. 5 positions respectively, India might have at last uncovered solutions to their long-standing middle-order woes. Despite edging out Sanju Samson for a place in the squad, Suryakumar is likely to bide his time in the ODI pecking order. Nevertheless, even if circumstances demand it, Suryakumar remains resolute in his commitment to preserving his natural playing style.
“I always play in top gear. I am always excited when waiting for my turn to bat. Even if I get out the first ball, it’s fine, but my preparation in the dugout and my planning make my heart-rate go high. You must have seen whenever a wicket falls, I run out to the middle. It’s because I like that because I feel that if my heart rate is already high, it is the best time for me to hit my stride. And then when I hit a couple of boundaries and get some runs, then I feel like yes, this is my day and I’m in the zone,” added Surya.