Suryakumar Yadav has become a sensation in white-ball cricket, particularly T20 internationals, this year. While he has been around the Indian team for a few years, it is in the period that Rahul Dravid became India’s head coach that Suryakumar’s international career has seen a proper liftoff.
Suryakumar said that Dravid, himself considered one of the greatest batters of all time, had valuable inputs to give him during one of their first interactions since the latter joined the Indian setup. Dravid’s first assignment since taking over as head coach in November last year was leading the Indian team in their home series against New Zealand. Suryakumar said that he had the interaction with Dravid before the first Test of the series in Kanpur.
“During the Kanpur Test I was batting in the nets and he (Dravid) said, ‘You are looking good, you just need to curtail a few strokes and just be yourself’. At the end of the day, it’s about scoring runs in this format as well. He told me to just keep things simple and enjoy what you are doing,” Suryakumar told Hindustan Times.
Suryakumar has accumulated the highest runs in T20Is this season, scoring 1,164 in 31 matches at a strike-rate of 187.43 with the help of two centuries and nine fifties. Looking back at his incredible year, Surya says, “It’s the fruits of all the hard work I have put in over the last 10-15 years…all the sacrifices that my family and I have made together. I’m just enjoying the fruits right now and very happy to stay in this space.”
However, he is yet to make his Test debut for India. While he has been in the Indian Test squad on a number of occasions and has taken part in matches as a substitute fielder, Suryakumar has never quite made it to the first eleven. There have been increasing calls for him to be given his maiden Test cap, with former India head coach Ravi Shastri saying that Suryakumar is an “all-format player”.
Surya too is looking forward to don the whites for India. “I have got runs in this format as well (in first-class cricket). I enjoy batting in this format. I still remember him (Shastri) saying, ‘I was an all-format player’. So it feels really good to hear something like that from someone of his stature,” says Surya.
“I first got recognition because of my performances in the red-ball cricket. So, this format (four-day) is very close to my heart,” he adds.