Dravid backs Suryakumar to turn things around
India head coach Rahul Dravid has thrown his weight behind India's middle-order batter whose ordinary run of form has attracted criticism ahead of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023.
A day ahead of the ODI series against Australia at home, all eyes are still on India's star-studded squad for the World Cup and head coach Rahul Dravid cleared the air on one batter whose performances have been under scrutiny in the recent past.
Suryakumar Yadav, the No.1 ranked batter in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's T20I Batting Rankings, has failed to replicate his prowess in the shortest format in the fifty-overs' version. After 27 ODIs, he has 537 runs in the format at an average of 24.41 and a highest score of 64.
Even with only two fifties in 25 innings and some glaring dismissals in the 2023 Asia Cup, Suryakumar found a place in the World Cup squad and Dravid backed it up on Thursday by expressing confidence in the middle-order batter's skill.
"We've picked our team for the World Cup and Surya is in it," Dravid stressed, hinting that there might be no changes in India's final World Cup 15 which teams have until 28 September to confirm.
"We made that decision to do that and we completely back him. We back him because he's got a certain quality and an ability that we have seen. Yes, I know we've seen it at the moment only in T20 cricket, but we know the kind of impact a player like him can make batting at six.
Suryakumar has three more ODIs against Australia ahead of the World Cup to build some form and Dravid hoped that he would grab it.
"We know that hopefully he'll be able to turn it around in these three games. Again, he is someone who will get these three games, and at least the first couple certainly, to be able to again develop and keep growing on his journey as a one-day cricketer.
Notably, the last time India played Australia in an ODI series, in March earlier this year, Suryakumar was dismissed for a first-ball duck in each of the three matches. It remains to be seen, though, if Suryakumar can use the series to squeeze into India's already crowded final starting XI for the World Cup.
Dravid insisted that the team will look to use the series against Australia to play batters in positions where they would feature in at the World Cup, also taking the example of Ishan Kishan as someone who could possibly play a dual role.
"We can't make everyone bat in exactly the same positions because two or three of them are probably going to get into the final 11 of the World Cup," Dravid said.