‘It’s better late than never’ – This has to be the quote that got Suryakumar Yadav going all these years. The Mumbai-born cricket waited for an eternity before making his national debut earlier this year. During this time, he piled up runs consistently in the domestic circuit and the Indian Premier League. His patience and dedication eventually paid off as Suryakumar received his maiden Team India cap during the T20I series against England in March.
However, Yadav’s test of patience wasn’t over yet as he didn’t get to bat in his debut game. Moreover, he was dropped for the following encounter. These things are certainly enough shatter the morale of many players. However, Yadav is made up of some different soil. The right-handed batsman finally got a chance to bat in the fourth T20I as he wasn’t going to let this opportunity go. After all, who’ll know the value of opportunities more than Yadav?
Suryakumar Yadav’s hard grind in domestic circuit
When Suryakumar Yadav announced himself in international cricket!
The dasher announced himself in grand style, smashing a six off his very first ball in international cricket. It was a sharp bouncer from none other than Jofra Archer but Yadav was equally up to the task. Yadav went on to score a match-winning 57 off 31 balls, clinching the Player-of-the-Match award. In case anyone thought Yadav’s heroics on debut was a mere fluke, the swashbuckler has got runs in all his international appearances so far.
In fact, he earned a Player-of-the-Series award in his maiden ODI assignment against Sri Lanka recently. Extending his purple patch, Yadav also scored a fifty in the first of the three T20Is against the Lankan Lions. Now, that’s what you call stellar consistency. It’s quite certain that Yadav will serve the national team for a while as he has all the attributes to shine across formats.
However, the biggest question is how far he’ll be able to go. After all, he made his international debut at 30. At this age, Virat Kohli reached the landmark of 10,000 ODI runs, while Sachin Tendulkar scored over 60 international centuries. This means, regardless of how remarkable he performs, it is all but impossible for Yadav to reach these milestones. Nevertheless, there’s one legend of the game whose journey was similar to Yadav’s.
Michael Hussey also had the same challenges
It’s none other than ‘Mr. Cricket’ Michael Hussey. With batting giants like Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds, Michael Bevan, and Mark Waugh in the ranks, Hussey couldn’t get into the Australian team in his early 20s. Nevertheless, a 29-year-old Mike Hussey arrived at the international arena in February 2004 and what followed next isn’t hidden from anyone.
The southpaw used all his experience and played one sensational knock after another. Hussey’s batting was certainly a sight to behold as he had all the shots in his arsenal. From driving and pulling the ball precisely to playing ramps and scoops, Hussey could send the ball anywhere in the park. However, the factor which separated Hussey from his contemporaries is his mental strength.
Regardless of how tough the situation is, Hussey backed himself to thrive and Australia enjoyed the benefit. Now, who can forget his mayhem against Pakistan in the semi-final of the 2010 T20 World Cup? Australia needed 53 off 17 balls in that game with only three wickets in hand. Moreover, the likes of Mohammad Amir and Saeed Ajmal were operating with the ball.
However, Hussey didn’t put his guards down and took his side over the line in the penultimate ball of the game. The left-handed batsman played several such knocks in his career and took Australia to many triumphs across formats. The talismanic cricketer eventually bid farewell to international cricket in 2012 but not before scoring 6235, 5442, and 721 runs in 79 Tests, 185 ODIs, and 38 T20Is.
Another Michael Hussey in Making?
These numbers aren’t ordinary by any standards and hence, having a career graph like this is a daunting task. However, Suryakumar Yadav has all the reasons and attributes to replicate Hussey’s heroics at the highest level. Like Hussey, Yadav also has a tendency to perform against the odds. On top of that, the swashbuckler has proven his mettle against some of the most prominent bowlers in the Indian Premier League.
Maintaining fitness also doesn’t seem to be a concern for the veteran. Hence, it would be interesting to see how Yadav’s international pans out. One thing is quite certain that Yadav has a hefty challenge at hand as the Indian team management doesn’t have any shortage of potent options. Hence, a couple of failures might be enough to put Yadav out of the radar.
Is sky the limit for Suryakumar?
In fact, Suryakumar isn’t yet a sure starter in India’s first-choice playing XI. While his Test debut is due, the dasher has to pip the likes of Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul to become a regular in the white-ball team. With Iyer and Rahul doing exceptionally well, replacing either of them won’t be easy. At the same time, however, Yadav has staked his claim by shining in all his international assignments so far.
Many even believe that Suryakumar Yadav is all but certain to participate in the T20 World Cup later this year. The global tournament might certainly decide Yadav’s fate as a good show would definitely seal his place in the side for quite a while. At the same time, a mediocre show would prompt the selectors to look at youngsters. Hence, a single foot wrong would be enough for Yadav’s downfall.
Not to forget, all these challenges came in Hussey’s career as well. However, the Aussies embraced them and we know how. A player of Hussey’s caliber certainly can’t be produced every day. Hence, Suryakumar Yadav has some work to do. Now, only could tell whether the sky is the limit for this prodigy or not.