'He's also probably learning ODIs' - Dravid pleads for patience on Suryakumar Yadav
Twin failures in Barbados on tricky surfaces to back a record three consecutive ducks against Australia in March in his last five innings have once again sharpened the knives on Suryakumar Yadav the ODI batter for India.
The 50-overs success continues to elude the man who is perhaps the best T20I batter of the era and has bossed the shortest format. Suryakumar's disappointing outing in the second ODI against the West Indies for a promising but unfulfilled 24 off 25 deliveries further drowned his average to 23.80 after 25 matches.
The aggressive and adventurous right-hander, who tends to use his crafty ways to tame attacks in T20 version, failed to control an instinctive cut shot on a raging turner from left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie to be out caught at point region. He was out premeditatively sweeping the same bowler for 19 in the first game.
These dismissals have raised the levels of criticism for the Mumbaikar and the team management for persisting with him and perhaps trying to carve out an established ODI middle-order player from a T20I maverick. Head coach Rahul Dravid, however, asserted a different ideology on the matter, insisting that his backup player has only sporadically had the chance to build on his experience and grow as a 50-overs cricketer.
Dravid on India backing Suryakumar Yadav amidst One-Day trails
Speaking to the press after India's six-wicket loss in the penultimate ODI of the three-match series against the Calypso Kings, Dravid posed a stern defence of Suryakumar Yadav amidst widespread criticism and pleaded time and patience on the outside for a cricketer who has played only 25 ODIs since his debut back in early 2021.
"Surya is a really good player, there is no doubt about that," Dravid said. "He has shown that. Especially in T20 cricket, in domestic cricket, in white-ball cricket. He has some very good performances. He would be the first one to admit that his ODI numbers haven't been up to the standards or the standards that he has set in T20."
"He's also probably learning ODIs. He has played a lot of competitive T20 cricket through the IPL before he made his debut for India. In One-dayers he hasn't played as much competitive cricket, because there is no IPL for one-dayers."
"He's also learning about his game, and learning to bat in the middle overs. He is a talent and we want to give him as many opportunities as we can. It is really up to him now to take those opportunities and use those opportunities. In the kind of setup we are, we give people as many chances as we possibly can," Dravid added.