Suryakumar Yadav has been the talk of the town lately. The young Mumbai Indians batsman had the Indian fan fraternity split this week. To clarify, it all started with the Indian team selection for the tour to Australia post IPL. As usual, Suryakumar could not make the cut for the Limited Overs squad of the Men in Blue.
He followed it up with a match-winning knock of 43-ball-79 for the Mumbai Indians. Most importantly, the unbeaten innings came against the Royal Challengers Bangalore led by Virat Kohli. The innings involved a few animated moments between Suryakumar Yadav and the Indian skipper. Above all, a moment of stare from Suryakumar as Kohli passed by formed a massive debate on the social media.
The Selection Controversy
A BCCI team selection meeting certainly depends on the viewpoint of the captain. In fact, there has been fabled incidents about how Sourav Ganguly stood his ground for selection of Harbhajan Singh prior to 2001 Australia series. Hence, a group of fans blame Kohli for the repeated ignoring of Suryakumar Yadav in the national team.
On the other hand, some fans are instead pointing out at the aggressive attitude of the Mumbai batsman.
Whatever be the fact, Suryakumar has been really unfortunate on the matter of selection for international cricket. Despite consistent performances in IPL across years, he is deprived of an opportunity in the biggest stage. In fact, there are more than one cricketer who belong to this list.
In this article, we find out the top 3 among the long array of names from this list.
1) Sandeep Sharma
Sandeep Sharma earned a nationwide name with his performance at the 2012 U-19 World Cup. He took 12 wickets in the tournament including a match-winning 4-fer in the final. His heroics along with a century from captain Unmukt Chand helped India win the title.
Soon, he got his IPL contract for the Kings XI Punjab in 2013. Over the next five years, he turned into an asset for this franchise. The right-arm medium pacer picked 71 wickets from 56 games for KXIP. His ability to swing the ball consistently gifted him a switch to the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2018.
For Sunrisers, Sandeep has picked 32 wickets in 32 matches. His role as new ball partner to strike bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar has always been a strong point of this franchise. Sandeep carries a decent economy of 7.77 in his IPL career. Added to that, his bowling average of 24.66 is a really promising statistic.
Sandeep has been a regular performer for his state team Punjab too, especially in T20 cricket. He holds a bowling average of 19.3 in his T20 career.
Despite all the stats holding high, Sandeep has not received enough opportunities in the Indian national team. He played only 2 T20 international games against Zimbabwe, back in the year 2015. In his debut, Sandeep could not impress with his match figure of 0/34. He followed up with 1/39 in the next game.
That was the last time Sandeep wore the blue jersey. In two games, Sandeep was removed from the Indian squad.
Aged 27, Sandeep is still performing at his best in the IPL. He must carry on the hard work to get noticed by the national selectors yet again.
2) Mandeep Singh
Mandeep Singh almost faced a similar fate to Sandeep. The big hitter from Punjab got just three T20I games for India before getting dropped. Co-incidentally, Mandeep also got his break in Zimbabwe, one year post the distraught tour of Sandeep.
Mandeep, aged 28, began his IPL career for KKR in 2010. However, he rose to the fame in 2012 when he finished as the top scorer of Kings XI Punjab that season. Mandeep scored 432 runs in 16 games that season. He also got adjudged as the ‘Emerging Player of the Season’ that year.
He broke into the Indian ODI team in 2015 Zimbabwe tour. A great domestic season with top scoring the 2015 Vijay Hazare trophy worked in favor of Mandeep. In the following year, he made his T20I debut at Harare.
On debut, he scored a steady 27-ball-31, followed by a half-century in the second game. He failed to score big in the third game of the series. He was subsequently dropped from the team. Mandeep never got another shot at the national team till date.
However, he continued his batting exhibition in the IPL. After representing RCB in 2015-18, Mandeep returned to KXIP in 2019. Last year, he scored 165 runs in 13 games for this team at an average of 41.25 and a strike rate of 137.50.
Mandeep is currently having a decent IPL 2020. He also came into the spotlight recently when he decided to serve his team after he received the news of his father’s demise. His commitment to his game earned him many compliments. Mandeep scored an unbeaten 56-ball-66 last week as KXIP routed through a strong KKR bowling lineup.
As Mandeep’s graph went up and down in times, it would take some extra effort to knock the doors of selection once again.
3) Suryakumar Yadav
Yadav, aged 30, is a regular squad member of the Mumbai state team. He made his first-class debut in Ranji trophy back in the year 2010. Over the years, he has been an asset for Mumbai in every format of domestic cricket – first class, list A and T20s.
An attacking right-hander, Suryakumar made his IPL debut for the Mumbai Indians in 2010. But, it was the Kolkata Knight Riders that brought him into the limelight. As a middle order batsman under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir, Suryakumar excelled as a middle-order batsman. He provided a sense of stability to the batting lineup. Also, Suryakumar took the challenges of finishing too well.
After spending four decent seasons with KKR, Mumbai Indians picked him back to its squad in 2018. Not only that, Suryakumar was asked to open the innings with Evin Lewis. This proved to be a gamechanger for his IPL career. He scored a whopping 512 runs in that season at 36.57. He carried a strike rate of 133.33 that year.
Suryakumar followed it up with 424 runs in the next season. His heroics contributed in the fifth title win for the Mumbai Indians.
This season, he is given responsibility to bat as one-down. It did not really affect his natural gameplay though. Suryakumar has picked up 362 runs at an average of 40.22. Also, he is striking the ball at 155+ strike rate currently.
His season best of an unbeaten 79 came last week against RCB.
Despite his fantastic consistency over the last few years, Suryakumar never made it to the Indian T20 squad. He also shared how painful it has been for his father to not see his name in even the India A squads.
During his spirited innings of 79, Suryakumar made a gesture to exhibit his reliability in the game of T20. A few fans considered it as his hidden message to Kohli and the selectors. Above all, it ignited a heated debate on social media. As mentioned earlier, a segment demanded justice for Suryakumar from the BCCI.
Team selection in India is a real tough job. Selecting the optimal eleven from a pool of thousands of talents is a thankless task. On the other hand, finding someone like Suryakumar still uncapped is not easy to accept as well.
Hopefully, Suryakumar would receive some guidance from the board that would help him fill the gaps and make his dream debut for team India!
Cover Image Courtesy: Suryakumar Yadav playing for Mumbai Cricket Team by Sirshak9927, Wikimedia Commons is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 / Modified from Original
About the Author