India’s batting lineup has emerged as one of their strong points going into the T20 World Cup. Multiple batters have emerged as match-winners this year in recent T20I matches that India played at home, England and the UAE. Virat Kohli seems to have returned close to his best while Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul have shone at different points. Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya have also provided the necessary punch India often need at the end of their innings.
However, Suryakumar Yadav has been one played who has held the Indian lineup together and seems to be in the form of his life over the past year. So much so that many former cricketers and commentators have called him the best T20 batter in the world going into the marquee tournament. Suryakumar has smashed a whopping 801 thus far this year in just 23 innings at an average of 40.05 and strike rate of 184.56. Suryakumar scored three back to back half centuries in India’s series against South Africa and followed that up by managing two half centuries in India’s three warm-up matches ahead of the tournament.
India batting legend Sachin Tendulkar has seen Suryakumar from up close for a long time now. Apart from being a longtime member of the Mumbai Indians, a franchise that Tendulkar is a former captain of and closely linked with every IPL season, Suryakumar has played in domestic cricket for a number of years for Mumbai, the team that the former India captain played for as well.
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Tendulkar said that “confidence and appreciation” has been key factors in Suryakumar’s evolution this year into one of the most important factors in the Indian batting lineup. “There is no better tonic than being encouraged and appreciated. It’s just that he is doing it more consistently now,” Tendulkar told the Times of India.
“Success and appreciation have also changed him as a person. He plays so confidently today because he knows he need not worry about getting picked.”
Another player from the Mumbai setup is India captain Rohit Sharma. Unlike Suryakumar, however, Rohit’s form has blown hot and cold throughout the year but Tendulkar is not reading too much into it. “When someone is trying hard to make the team win and things don’t happen the way you want, these things happen. Some people are calm, others respond differently. If someone is calm, it doesn’t mean the person is not trying hard. At the same time if a person is very animated and aggressive, it doesn’t mean that the person is disturbed,” he said.
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