As the ICC World Cup draws closer, India finds itself grappling with the challenge of achieving the right team balance. Rohit Sharma, the Indian skipper, openly acknowledges the struggle to solidify the number 4 batting position, especially with the unfortunate absence of Shreyas Iyer due to injury. Iyer’s previous inclusion had seemingly resolved India’s significant batting dilemma. He had amassed 805 runs at an impressive average of 47.35, including two centuries and five half-centuries in just 20 games.
However, his prolonged back injury has resurfaced the batting predicament, prompting India to explore alternative solutions. One such option under scrutiny by the Indian team management is Suryakumar Yadav. This Mumbai-based batter has gained substantial recognition in the T20 format and currently holds the prestigious rank of the world’s No. 1 batsman. Despite his success in T20Is, Suryakumar is yet to establish a comparable rhythm in the One-Day Internationals (ODIs).
Since making his ODI debut in July 2021, Suryakumar has participated in 26 ODIs, but his performance has not mirrored his T20 prowess. With 511 runs at an average of 24.33, the numbers remain modest. However, former India selector MSK Prasad is unwavering in his belief that Suryakumar will feature prominently in the forthcoming mega event on home soil.
In an interview with India Today, MSK Prasad asserted that a player who attains the top rank in T20s possesses a unique talent deserving of recognition. He confidently stated, “I am 100 per cent sure that Suryakumar will go to the World Cup. If someone can be a No. 1 player in the T20 format, it means he has special talent which we have seen in the T20Is that he has played for the country and in the IPL. We know about his ability to soak in pressure.”
Suryakumar’s recent display of excellence came in the third ODI against the West Indies, where his match-winning 83 played a pivotal role in India’s 7-wicket victory. After the game, he revealed discussions with head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma regarding his role clarity in the ODIs.
MSK Prasad emphasizes the significance of role clarity in aiding Suryakumar’s adaptation to the ODI format. He believes that the guidance provided by Rohit and Dravid will enable Suryakumar to flourish as a key match-winner and a formidable finisher for India in the World Cup.
Prasad’s confidence in Suryakumar’s potential is resolute: “He has got the ability and we need to back him. What Rohit and Dravid have now done is fantastic, probably they have given him role clarity. That will definitely help him because that (the finisher’s role) is the situation he enjoys the most. I am sure that would be a huge relief to Suryakumar and he can also start planning accordingly.”
With India’s hopes pinned on the upcoming World Cup, the alignment of Suryakumar’s role and form could prove to be a game-changing factor for the team’s success.