You don't realize what you got until it's gone-- 'Uncapped' Suryakumar Yadav's carnage at Abu Dhabi against Royal Challengers Bangalore wasn't just a proof of his batting prowess. It was rather a bold statement to put an end to his national call-up dilemma.
Taking control of Mumbai Indians' middle-order on Wednesday, Suryakumar hammered an unbeaten 79 off 43 to nudge the national selectors. Dominating the on-side with his sweeps, the right-hander was unstoppable with his 10 fours and 3 sixes. He wasn't completely dormant on the off-side too. Highlighting the work he has put in during Covid-19 lockdown, Suryakumar revealed how he has been able to notch up his all-round strokeplay.
Anything hurled on his legs was tonked for a boundary on the leg-side, and each pummelled shot seemed like a whack in the face of national selectors. Even Yuzvendra Chahal-- RCB's leading wicket-taker this season and Virat Kohli's go-to man-- lurched against Surya's awe-inspiring and imposing knock.
The encounter gave the impression of being more than just an IPL 2020 fixture. Devdutt Padikkal, one of the best talents of the on-going season, stole the show with his 45-ball 74 in the first innings. Kohli's men were hoping to secure the top spot but Suryakumar's had other plans under his sleeve. Eclipsing Devdutt's knock, 'Sky' Surya not only guided MI to the victory but also emphasized what the selectors are failing to see.
Racing to his best score in the IPL history, the Mumbai-born right-hander smashed the winning boundary off Mohammed Siraj in the last over. It was nothing short of a rip-roaring movie climax. 'I am still there at the wicket'-- the cameras zoomed in on Surya's gesture, and it was a 'the more you look, the more you see' moment.
There might be multiple interpretations to his on-field gesture but his authoritative knock, without a doubt, was a treat for all Indian fans. Oozing confidence with his every stroke, Suryakumar not just knocked on the national selectors' door but also stated that his batting calibre is hard to suppress.
Worked on my game during the lockdown: Suryakumar Yadav
His smile while receiving a string of awards in the post-match presentation was a perfect example of agony. He might soon pave his way into the national side but the situation won't be hunky-dory if the India call-up knocks at a wrong time, especially when he isn't at his peak.
"I was looking to finish the game. I was looking to learn what my game is. Happy to have finished it. A lot of meditation has helped. One over the cover to Chahal and the back foot punch off Steyn were my favourites," he said after being the destructor-in-chief for MI against a strong RCB unit.
"I have worked on my game during the lockdown. I used to love playing on the on-side before. Pleased to have finished the game. The team management and Rohit told me before the start of the tournament that you have played enough to take the game deep. I am glad I have been able to do it," he added.
Ever since announcing the squads for the Australia tour, the Board of Cricket Control for India (BCCI) has been facing the wrath of several fans. The social media furore was all about the Indian board turning a blind eye toward's Surya's batting expeditions. Despite deliver consistently in the IPL and domestic circuit, it's hard to believe that Surya still has the 'uncapped' tag on his head, especially in the T20 format.
Suryakumar's impressive record through the years
Over the past few years, there have been several players who've marked their arrival in the national side. However, after delivered a lackadaisical performance, they've ultimately been labelled as 'in-and-out' performers.
The possibility of such players vanishing from the international scene without leaving a trail is distinctly high. However, the current situation of Surya is a bit offbeat. His three-year toil in the domestic circuit and the IPL hasn't reaped benefits yet. Talking about his records in First-class cricket, the Mumbai-born has mustered over 5000 runs in 77 matches, including 14 tons and 26 half-centuries.
The ex-Kolkata Knight Riders man, since shifting his base to Mumbai Indians, has scored a whopping 1298 runs so far. Often tagged as a 'T20 specialist', his strike-rate of over 130 justifies his calibre in the shortest format. In 2018, after being assigned opening duties, Surya scored over 500 runs including four half-centuries. While in 2019, he amassed 424 runs to be his franchise's second-highest run-getter.
Along with shifting gears, he knows when to shuffle the strike, which arguably comes from the experience which he possesses. 'Sky' has smashed nine half-centuries for MI in the last three seasons, excluding him from the category of 'run-of-the-mill' players. He might even gather a couple of more half-centuries under his belt by the end of this season. However, his future with the national side will continue hanging ominously, at least for now.