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Rediff.com  » Cricket » How SKY mastered the art of tackling spin in ODIs

How SKY mastered the art of tackling spin in ODIs

Source: PTI
Last updated on: October 30, 2023 16:56 IST
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Suryakumar Yadav's superior performance will put Shreyas Iyer's slot in danger once Hardik Pandya is back.

Suryakumar Yadav

IMAGE: Suryakumar Yadav’s 49 off 47 balls in tough batting conditionson showed why the team management has way more faith in his abilities. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Suryakumar Yadav is an antithesis to what the proverbial Mumbai school of batsmanship is all about -- dollops of doggedness in a fine mixture of style and class.

Style and class has never been a problem with 'SKY'. He has given ample display of that in T20 cricket, a format he has bossed with remarkable ease.

However, some of his low scores in ODIs did raise questions if he is unable to blend a bit of serenity in his all or nothing approach, which is perfectly in sync with T20s but not the 50-over format.

 

But on Sunday, at the Ekana Stadium in arguably the toughest batting conditions of the current World Cup, Surya channelised his inner Mumbaikar to play an innings which would be rated very highly in terms of responsibility and substance quotient.

The 49 off 47 balls on a track, where it was extremely difficult to just plonk front-foot and hit through the line, showed why the team management had way more faith in his abilities compared to a few other players, who missed the World Cup bus.

And not only did Surya do a world of good for himself but also put Shreyas Iyer under considerable amount of pressure going into the matches going forward.

Hardik Pandya, who is nursing a left ankle grade 1 sprain (damage to fibers of ligament), is expected to come back towards the business end of the league stage and a debate could ensue who should stay in playing eleven: Iyer, who is enduring a low string of scores, or Surya, who has proved what he could do in critical situations.

"We all know what Surya can do in T20Is. What was impressive was how he read the situation and was ready to play the second fiddle till Rohit was at the crease. It was a top-class innings keeping conditions in mind and he only played his customary pick-up shot behind square when he knew that it is time to attack," former national selector Jatin Paranjape said.

"On Sunday, you saw that 'khadoos' Mumbaikar in Surya where he was ready to show the other side of his batting. And if you ask me about what happens when Hardik comes back, I would like to see Surya continue in his role and KL (Rahul) can bat at No. 4 in place of Shreyas Iyer," opined Paranjape.

For someone with a hitting-range like that of Surya and those 360 degree shots, it was heartening to see him honour the conditions rather than the bowlers.

He employed the difficult sweep shot after gauging that both off-spinner Moeen Ali and leg-spinner Adil Rashid are getting reasonable purchase off the track. He didn't try to sweep the spinners against the turn but with it.

Head coach Rahul Dravid has always spoken about Surya needing to find some more scoring areas as his hitting range has been primarily square and behind the wicket in T20 cricket.

In shortest format, that isn't an issue but in 50 overs, there is a middle phase where rotation of strike becomes paramount.

A look at Surya's scoring chart will show that he has taken 19 singles and at least 15 of them came in-front of the square as he kept the scoreboard ticking.

"He knew that it wasn't a 280-plus track and 240 would be a fighting total. He changed his game accordingly and that was the best part," former India keeper Deep Dasgupta, who is now noted commentator, said.

Dasgupta, who is tracking the Indian team for the host broadcaster, also agreed that Surya has a strong case for keeping his place in playing eleven when Hardik comes back.

"There are two ways to describe a lean patch. One where you look good but you are not getting runs and Shreyas isn't looking in great touch. And if you talk about sticking to specific roles, then I believe number 5 and 6 are inter-changeable. SKY and Hardik can both fill-up the roles as per game situation," Dasgupta said. 

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