Former Australian cricketer Mark Waugh expressed confidence in Suryakumar Yadav’s ability to excel in the ODI format, emphasizing that the fundamental principles of white-ball cricket remain consistent, and Suryakumar possesses the skills to perform well in 50-over matches. Waugh’s remarks followed Suryakumar Yadav’s impressive half-century in India’s first ODI against Australia in Mohali on Friday, September 22.
Suryakumar displayed restraint and patience at the crease, deviating from his typical extravagant T20 shots until he was comfortably set. This approach paid off as he played a pivotal role in India’s successful chase of 277 runs, helping secure a five-wicket victory with eight balls to spare. The top-ranked T20I batter in the world formed an 80-run partnership with stand-in captain KL Rahul.
This ODI fifty was a significant breakthrough for Suryakumar Yadav, ending a 21-match and 18-month drought. Questions were raised about Suryakumar’s place in the ODI side, particularly when he was selected for the Cricket World Cup 2023 squad. However, Suryakumar appears to have the full support of the team management.
It was a redemption story for Suryakumar Yadav, who endured one of the leanest phases in international cricket after suffering three successive golden ducks in an ODI series against Australia at home, just before the IPL.
Mark Waugh stated, “It’s not about those ducks. All those things that people have been talking about, stuff like ‘is he just a T20 player? Is he good enough to be a 50-overs player?’. He sure is, you don’t lose your talent overnight. There are similar basics in T20 cricket and 50-over cricket. Hit the ball, run hard, put the bad ball away, he can do all those things really well.”
“It’s just a matter of him breaking free and not worrying about getting out. That’s the one thing that always holds batters back — thinking about getting out. If you can not think about that, then your natural instincts will take over and he will be fine,” he added.
Head coach Rahul Dravid had previously expressed confidence in Suryakumar’s abilities and assured that his place in the World Cup squad was secure despite his lean patch in the ODI format. Former Indian cricketer Abhishek Nayar highlighted the confidence Suryakumar displayed in the ODI series opener in Mohali, attributing it to the supportive team environment.
Abhishek Nayar commented, “That also tells you the environment in the team. A lot of times, when you go back to the dugout, the coach and the captain, when they put that sort of trust in you. We saw Rahul Dravid speak in the press conference of how much confidence they had in Suryakumar, that they are going to back him—just feel that Suryakumar having that (backing) gives him the confidence to play his natural game.”
India is scheduled to face Australia in the 2nd ODI in Indore on Sunday, September 24.