Harbhajan Singh believes SKY, better known as Suryakumar Yadav, should be in the playing XI for India at World Cup 2023 for his unique ability to change the game in the middle overs.
What did Harbhajan say?
The former Team India spinner believes SKY can be an X-factor for India in the coming World Cup, and picking him ahead of Sanju Samson was the right call. Bhajji says that SKY can do things in the middle order that even Kohli or Rohit can’t.
“I feel Suryakumar Yadav is a complete, complete player, I don't think the selectors have been harsh on Sanju Samson. I do feel Sanju is a very very good player, a quality player. But you can only select fifteen players. But picking Suryakumar over Sanju is the right call.
Because of the game that Suryakumar has in the middle overs, I don't think Sanju has that game. Even (though) he goes for big shots from the first ball, the reliability Suryakumar gives you – he can score big.
What he can do at that position, neither Virat can do, nor Sanju or Rohit Sharma. Because what he does it's a difficult job, batting at 5-6. What Dhoni has done, what Yuvi has done.” Harbhajan said on a Star Sports talk show.
Explaining SKY’s struggles in the ODI
The main argument against SKY is the fact that he has failed to recreate his incredible T20 batting exploits in the ODI format, and his stats reflect that. The Mumbai man averages 24.33 after playing 24 ODI innings.
Harbhajan, however, was sympathetic and felt that the new Mr.360 could turn it around. He feels that batting in the middle order, where it is a tough balancing act between pressing the accelerator and rebuilding the innings, is a challenging task.
“Because batting there (5 or 6) is the toughest; opening, you know where to score runs. You have a lot of time. But when you go in to bat after 20-25 overs, you need the game to know where you can find gaps to get boundaries, and I don't think anyone in the Indian team can do that better than Suryakumar,” claimed the former CSK and MI off-spinner.
What SKY could bring to India’s playing XI?
After Watching him for team India and MI in T20Is, almost everyone knows what the Mumbai-born right-hander can bring to the table. At his best, he is an almost unstoppable force of nature, capable of creating unimaginable angles to get boundaries.
If he gets it right, he could do something akin to what Jos Butler does for England, acting as a floating middle-order batter capable of turbo charging the innings and taking the game away from the opposition in a short spell.
That is the reason team management has persisted with him, despite his struggles. Fans would be hoping he finally comes good at the biggest stage.