Suryakumar Yadav has been one of India’s biggest revelations since 2022 and the kind of rampaging form that he has found himself in, speaks volumes about his perseverance and his tenacity. Finishing as the highest scorer in the shortest format of the game in the preceding calendar year, SKY will be hoping to replicate his heroics again as he takes the yard for the first time at his own home in Wankhede.
Knowing Mumbai for its cutthroat competition, it is very rare where you can earn a praise or two. However, turning the clock by almost a decade, a young Suryakumar Yadav was told by Vilas Godbole, the coach of Mumbai U22 team back then, that he will be playing for India someday.
In an interview with the Indian Express, Godbole opened up on the narrative that he shared with SKY a decade ago and since then how India’s vice-captain for the Sri Lankan series has managed to turn the tide around in his favour despite almost insurmountable odds stacking up against him.
Godbole said, “He was very talented then too, now we can argue that he should have played for India earlier but the way he came back was remarkable. I saw him playing reverse-sweeps to medium pacers. I have seen (Sunil) Gavaskar-(Sachin) Tendulkar closely but never saw someone so special.”
The former Mumbai gaffer also drew contrast between SKY and Sanjay Manjrekar in his prime. He said, “He (Manjrekar) carried that arrogance and confidence while batting. The best players set the tone of the game. They know where the bowlers are going to bowl. This is the hallmark of a great batsman. Gavaskar had it, Tendulkar had it, and now I can see it in Surya. They know where the bowler is going to bowl. Surya is more dangerous, as he can hit behind the wicket too.” Suryakumar Yadav became the second batter to rack up 1000 runs in a calendar year in T20Is after Mohammad Rizwan. He finished the year with 1164 runs at a stunning strike rate of 187.43, launching 68 maximums throughout the year in the distant shores of inimical countries. Such was his magnificence that BCCI chose to hand over the vice-captaincy to him for the Sri Lankan T20I series.