'It is our job' - Rohit Sharma opens up on Suryakumar Yadav's ODI struggles
Rohit Sharma emphasized "it is our job" as an Indian team set-up to extract the maximum value out of the aggressive Suryakumar Yadav even in the 50-overs game. The Indian skipper believes the experienced heads within the team and the management must carry the responsibility to create "scenarios" where Suryakumar can come out all guns blazing and make his best possible impact.
Those scenarios could best play out in the last 15 overs of the innings at No.6 with the unique and adventurous right-hander perfectly capable of dominating the opposition attacks from the word go. As he showed during the third T20I of the ongoing series against the West Indies in Guyana with a blistering 83 off just 44 deliveries.
The incredible knock at the Providence Stadium only further enriched a wealthy T20I record for India. But in stark contrast stand Suryakumar Yadav's 50-over numbers for the country. Even though the player has retained an impressive strike-rate of 101.38, he is averaging a measly 24.33 with just two half-centuries across 26 ODIs.
Rohit Sharma backs Suryakumar amidst 50-overs strife
Irregular game time as a middle-order backup in the format amidst a T20I-dominant Indian cricket calendar seems to have rained on Suryakumar Yadav's parade despite a bright start to his career back in 2021. He won the 'Player of the Series' for the series in Sri Lanka in June of that year but hasn't been able to replicate those performances.
Speaking about his teammate and friend's ODI struggles to the media, Rohit Sharma says the lack of opportunities to grasp the rigours of the 50-overs format have hurt Suryakumar's progress and the key now is for the team management to back him to eventually ace the longer version.
"There is no question about his ability in the T20 format. The challenges (in ODIs) are different. He is really working hard and he is talking to a lot of guys who have played a lot of ODI cricket as to what attitude and mindset (to have)," Rohit said.
"He is the kind of player, you also have to give him that freedom to go and bat the way he does. You cannot tell him to face 100 balls and make 50 runs. It is important to give a batter like him the cushion of extra games so that he finds that groove, gets that confidence. The way he started IPL this year, in the first 4-5 games he did not have too many runs but look what he did after that."
"For a player like him, it is our job to create such a situation and scenario — it’s okay if you don’t do well in 2-3 games, but when you come off, we know you will win games straightaway. That is what he did in the third T20I, the batters at the top got out, and for Surya to go and bat like that."