Former Australian all-rounder Tom Moody raised questions on Suryakumar Yadav’s selection in India’s 15-member World Cup 2023 squad announced on Tuesday, September 5. Apart from the inclusion of KL Rahul on fitness grounds, the squad selection did not have any massive change, with the players from the Asia Cup squad predominantly retained as well. However, a key talking point has been the inclusion of Suryakumar Yadav, despite his poor ODI numbers, ahead of other middle-order contenders like Sanju Samson and Tilak Varma as well.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo on the Indian World Cup squad, Tom Moody said, “He is lucky to be in that squad purely because of the case that mounts against him for someone like Tilak Varma who gives you that left-hand batting specialist in the middle order who can bowl part-time spin,” Moody said.”It gives them flexibility around the Ishan Kishan discussion. Doesn’t mean both of them can’t play in the same side but it gives the flexibility that Rohit Sharma talked about quite regularly in the press conference.”
Although Tilak Varma is yet to debut for India in ODIs, he did well in his maiden T20I series in the West Indies, scoring at an average of 57.66 and a strike rate of 140.65 in five games as well. However, he could have also been added as a second left-hander option in the middle order to go with Ishan Kishan. While Suryakumar Yadav is the No.1 ranked batter in T20Is, his ODI numbers didn’t go down well so far. In 26 ODIs, he has scored only 511 runs at an average of 24.33, with two half-centuries. And, former Indian batter Sanjay Manjrekar felt that the temptation of having Suryakumar Yadav as a match-winner with the bat in T20s was too irresistible for the selectors that they have added him in the ODIs as well.
“I don’t think they were able to resist the temptation of a Suryakumar Yadav in 50-over cricket because of the kind of magic he has done in T20 cricket,” Sanjay Manjrekar said in the aforementioned video.”The thing about Suryakumar Yadav is that he plays quality T20 innings, he plays it on the big stage. And if there’s a situation similar to T20 cricket and the big stage in the World Cup, who can rule Surya playing a terrific unbelievable innings and getting India into a match-winning situation,” he added.
“It’s just that his international 50-overs record isn’t much and he hasn’t played much and they are hoping that his temperament and experience comes into play on the big stage. Rohit Sharma also talked about handling pressure which is one of the reasons why they want a Suryakumar Yadav with his skills, experience and the ability to handle pressure,” he concluded.