Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

With his debut at 30, Team India’s aggressive batsman Suryakumar Yadav is a late bloomer. However, the elevation of ‘SKY’ has now become the template for India’s new style of T20I batting. Heading into the ongoing T20 World Cup in Australia, Surya is undoubtedly the most important batsman for the Men in Blue.

Surya has a pretty clear picture in mind about his role in the team. He wants to go after the bowling from the very first ball. The 22-ball 61 against South Africa in Guwahati on October 2, or the brilliant 117 off 55 against England at Trent Bridge in July were some of the prime examples of Surya's brilliance.

The aggressive right-handed batsman currently stands second in the World T20 ranking. He has a whooping strike rate of 180.29 in 2022. His career strike-rate is 176.81 across 34 matches. He has hit as many as 50 sixes in T20Is this year and was the first cricketer to do so in a calendar year.

Surya made his first-class debut in 2010 for Mumbai. He had to wait more than a decade to represent India. He made his T20I debut in March 2021, and played his first ODI in July that year.

Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, who has watched Yadav from close quarters as Mumbai Indians coach, called him a 360-degree player. 

As per Ponting, Surya backs himself and he never steps down from a challenge or any situation that arises in a game. He thinks that he can win that situation and go on and win the game for his team.

Surya has to go through a frustrating period for a long time and do all the hard work with perseverance to acquire those special skills.

“Surya was always a class player. But, he didn’t have the confidence from the beginning. He took long strides afterward and became an asset for Mumbai and Team India. He is an all-format player. His first-class record, with a strike rate of over 60, 14 tons and 26 fifties, speaks for itself,” said former Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni.

Surya’s time with Mumbai Indians also helped him get noticed, especially 2018 onwards. He is a captain’s delight and India and Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma has a great amount of confidence in him.

“Every time I see Surya, I found him taking his game a notch higher, which is a good sign as a player. Surya seems to be getting better and better every time,” said Sharma.

Not only Rohit but also all the Indian fans would hope that Yadav keeps that confidence going Down Under to help India bag the coveted T20 World Cup trophy for the second time.