Former Team India chief selector MSK Prasad backed Suryakumar Yadav to be part of the World Cup squad despite his horrendous form in the ODI format. With the showpiece event less than two months away, the Men in Blue will look to finalize their 15-man squad before or during the upcoming Asia Cup.
The 32-year-old has been an enigma in that he is the top-ranked T20I batter in the world but has struggled to replicate that form in 50-over cricket. Suryakumar averages a lowly 24.33 in 26 ODIs and has fared even worse this year.
The destructive batter averages 14.11 in 2023 with no half-centuries in ten ODI matches.
Speaking to India Today, MSK Prasad felt his T20 stature validates his prowess as a match-winner and that India should select him in the World Cup squad.
“I am 100 percent sure that Suryakumar will go to the World Cup. If someone can be a No. 1 player in the T20 format, it means he has special talent which we have seen in the T20Is that he has played for the country and in the IPL. We know about his ability to soak in pressure,” Prasad said.
The middle-order batter also endured a hattrick of ducks in the three-match ODI series against Australia before the IPL. Suryakumar Yadav could also not capitalize in the recent series against the West Indies despite getting starts on all three occasions, averaging only 26.
“He has still not got hold of his role in the team” – MSK Prasad
MSK Prasad felt that a lack of clarity has been among the main reasons for Suryakumar Yadav’s possible struggles in 50-over cricket. The right-hander has batted from No. 3 to 7 for Team India in his 24 ODI innings.
With the injuries to white-ball regulars Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul, Suryakumar has got opportunities aplenty to cement his place. However, the constant chopping and changing of his position has resulted in his dismal performance in ODIs.
“I personally feel that he has still not got hold of his role in the team. If he gets hold of his role and plays accordingly, I am sure he will be one of the biggest match-winners and the best finisher for India in the World Cup. He has got the ability and we need to back him,” Prasad added.
He credited skipper Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid for finally giving the Mumbai Indians (MI) star clarity and having him as the designated finisher.
“What Rohit and Dravid have now done is fantastic, probably they have given him role clarity. That will definitely help him because that (the finisher’s role) is the situation he enjoys the most. I am sure that would be a huge relief to Suryakumar and he can also start planning accordingly,” he added.
Aside from the first ODI against the West Indies, where India experimented with their batting order, Suryakumar Yadav has batted at No. 6 and 7 in three of his last four ODIs.
It helped the batter produce two of his three highest scores of the year, with a 25-ball 24 and a 30-ball 35 in the final two ODIs against the West Indies.
Despite the slight resurgence, it remains to be seen if Suryakumar Yadav finds a place in the World Cup squad, especially if Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul are 100% fit and eligible for selection.