If Suryakumar Yadav is in your first playing XI, then I would want him to bat at No. 6-7: Gautam Gambhir
Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir's take on the Indian middle order puzzle with Suryakumar Yadav hitting form
Suryakumar Yadav, after a prolonged wait of 590 days, finally came up with a well-deserved ODI half-century during the series opener against Australia in Mohali. This pivotal knock not only marked a resurgence for the talented batter but also raised a pertinent question: Does this solitary performance guarantee him a spot in India's starting XI for the upcoming World Cup?
Cricketing luminary Gautam Gambhir believes there's a possibility, but with it comes a word of caution for captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid.
In a candid conversation with Star Sports on YouTube, the 41-year-old weighed in on the situation. He suggested that if Suryakumar is indeed to be a first-choice player in the World Cup squad, he should ideally slot in at No. 6 or 7, primarily as a finisher. However, the intriguing conundrum arises when considering who would occupy the pivotal No. 5 spot.
“If Suryakumar Yadav is in your first playing XI, then I would want him to bat at 6-7, but the big question will then be who will bat at No. 5. Then Jadeja can bat at No. 5, Hardik at 6 and Suryakumar as finisher where he can bat in the final 15-20 overs.” Gambhir said.
Yet, the southpaw wisely pointed out that this strategy is not without its risks and complexities. The burden of responsibility on the top four batters would amplify significantly if such a lineup were to be adopted, potentially adding pressure to their shoulders.
“But it will be a huge gamble deciding whether you want Jadeja at No. 5 and Suryakumar, in the form that he is in ODI cricket, at No. 7. This would put a lot of responsibility on the top four,” he added.
The Suryakumar Yadav Conundrum
The genesis of "Project Suryakumar" can be traced back to the dynamic batter's sensational rise in the ICC T20I batting rankings in 2022, courtesy of his scintillating display in the shortest format. Rohit Sharma, recognising the potential, firmly backed Suryakumar for a crucial role in the ODI setup. The path ahead for India's World Cup campaign is indeed paved with intriguing choices, and the fate of the 33-year-old batter within the squad remains a subject of fervent debate.
Captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid find themselves at the crossroads, contemplating whether to embrace the gamble and entrust the right-handed batter with the finisher's role or explore alternative strategies to bolster the middle order. The cricketing world watches with bated breath, eager to witness how this high-stakes decision unfolds on the grand stage of the World Cup.