Kolkata Knight Riders' Suryakumar Yadav: India's Answer to Glenn Maxwell?
Kolkata Knight Riders' Suryakumar Yadav is a batsman known to play innovative shots, literally all-round the wicket. Just like a certain, Glenn Maxwell. He is also a useful part-time bowler, just like Maxwell. However, while Maxwell is now an established name, Suryakumar is still a diamond in the rough.
Who is the vice-captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders?
Every die-hard Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) fan will of course know the answer. It's not a tough question, but a tricky one. It's not Uthappa, not Manish Pandey, Morkel, Shakib or Yusuf. It's a talented youngster, who puts in 100% every time he takes the field. It's Suryakumar Yadav. He was made vice-captain after KKR's win vs Mumbai on Wednesday. (Surya Man-of-the-Match for me: Gambhir)
Suryakumar is a batsman known to play innovative shots, literally all-round the wicket. Just like a certain, Glenn Maxwell. He is also a useful part-time bowler, just like Maxwell. However, while Maxwell is now an established name, Suryakumar is still a diamond in the rough. (Sunil Narine 2.0, Sizzle or Fizzle?)
On Wednesday, the 24-year-old's unbeaten 20-ball 46, that included five sixes, brought the Eden Gardens crowd to its feet. His knock was exceptionally crucial, considering he went in to bat with the scoreboard reading 98/2 and the home team chasing a challenging 169 runs to win. He didn't win it single-handedly for KKR, but played a match changing knock.
Something Maxwell has begun to do regularly now. (Narine May Not Play for West Indies Again: Dean Jones)
Though Morne Morkel walked away with the Man-of-the-Match award, KKR captain Gautam Gambhir picked Suryakumar as the player of the game.
Gambhir said, "Definitely for me, Man-of-the-Match, would be Surya. He showed maturity and amazing hitting."
Mature is what Maxwell is becoming with every innings he plays, while retaining his quintessential flair for big hitting. Suryakumar's progress is almost along the same lines. He scored 73 on his Ranji Trophy debut in 2010. The next season, he was Mumbai's leading run-getter in the tournament. In the 2010-11 season he won the best U-22 Cricketer of the Year award.
Ironically, though his home IPL team Mumbai Indians bought him ahead of the 2011 season, he wasn't played till 2012 and then too in just one match where he faced just four deliveries.
It was the Knight Riders who saw the spark in him and bought him in 2014 for Rs 70 lakh. Since then there's been no looking back for the talented and extremely innovative batsman.
Gambhir, who is very impressed with Surya has said, "We gave him the vice-captaincy because of his sense of responsibility and he has lived up to that."
Yadav was very effective for KKR in the 2014 season, playing a number of useful cameos. This season though will be extremely crucial for the young man from Mumbai. This could be the season which could shape his India future, with the selectors watching IPL proceedings keenly.
NDTV IPL expert and former Australian cricketer Dean Jones in fact has said, "You can see the development of this boy. He could be in India's World Cup team for 2019."
The 2015 edition of the ICC World Cup saw Maxwell finally transform from a talented youngster to the real 'Big Show' as he notched up his maiden ODI century off just 51 deliveries, as he decimated the Sri Lankan bowling attack.
The next World Cup is four years away. Will India have a Maxwell of their own by then in Suryakumar Yadav?