Melbourne, Nov 6 (SocialNews.XYZ) Going into the Men's T20 World Cup, there was a bit of doubt about how Suryakumar Yadav would fare in the tournament. He had played astonishing knocks in various seasons of IPL and T20Is for India since his debut in March 2021.
But the doubts about him faring in the bouncy conditions of Australia, a country where he had never played before have been thrown in the bin at the end of the Super 12 stage, where India topped Group 2 and have entered the semifinals.
In India being table-toppers in their group, Suryakumar had a major role to play, hitting an astonishing 61 not out off 25 balls, bringing out his audacious scoops, silken wrist work, constant usage of the crease and magnificent lofts to propel India to 186/5.
After India's 71-run win over Zimbabwe at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, head coach Rahul Dravid attributed Suryakumar's scintillating run to the absolute clarity he has had in his processes as well as strategies ever since he burst on the international scene.
"It's incredible. That's why he is the No.1 T20 player in the world at the moment, because of that consistency in a format where scoring at a strike rate that he does. It's not easy to be consistent with the kind of strike rate he's going at. So, it's just fantastic the way he's playing. I think he's been very clear in his processes. He's very clear about his tactics.
"He's been absolutely phenomenal for us. He's just a joy to watch. It's a pleasure to watch him bat when he's in that kind of form. Every time it's like he puts on a show, without a doubt," said Dravid in the post-match press conference.
In Sydney, against the Netherlands, Suryakumar changed the tempo of the innings with a quickfire 25-ball fifty. In Perth, against South Africa, where everyone fell apart, he stood tall on a pacy, bouncy pitch to get a fighting fifty. In Melbourne, against Zimbabwe, he put a masterclass in death overs batting to get India to a mammoth total and become the third-highest run-scorer in the tournament.
While acknowledging the hard yards put in by the right-hander, Dravid also noted the work in fitness put in by Suryakumar, which has helped India get singles and doubles with quick running between the wickets.
"He's worked very hard. One of the things about Surya is just the amount of hard work that he's put in the nets, in thinking about his game, his fitness. If I look at Surya from a couple of years ago, just to see how he takes care of his body and the amount of time he spends on his fitness. He's just really earning the reward for a lot of the hard work that he's put in on and off the field, and long may it continue."
Dravid also expressed confidence over left-arm spin all-rounder Axar Patel coming good for India ahead of the semifinal against England on Thursday in Adelaide Oval. Against the Netherlands, Patel bowled a brilliant spell to take 2/18 in his four overs. But against other teams, it has been no wickets while conceding 63 runs in five overs.
"In a few games (he's been expensive). But he's had good games, as well. Again, that's the nature of this tournament, this format. The nature of this format is such that you can get taken apart, especially on a day like today when they lost a lot of wickets there."
"(They had) nothing to lose, they could go after it, and he's bowled well, as well. I think he bowled well in a couple of games and took a few wickets in those games, as well. I thought he bowled a very good over against Bangladesh just before the rain break. He bowled an over for six runs."
"It can happen in this format. I'm not necessarily concerned. Yes, he would have liked to have had a better day than today, but having said that, he's been someone who's actually bowled really well for us over the last period of time," he concluded.