Despite another successful stint in the IPL, when Suryakumar Yadav wasn’t named in either of the white-ball squads for the Australia tour last year, he couldn’t eat, he was hurt. But like a dedicated student of the game, the Mumbai Indians batsman put his head down and kept on grinding – on the pitch, in the nets and yes, off the field as well. In the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, he scored an unbeaten 79 off 43 balls and celebrated his innings in Ronaldo’s ‘Calma’ style as he gestured to his team in the dugout, almost saying: “No need to panic, I am here.”
When the 30-year-old finally got his chance to bat in a different blue jersey, he played an authoritative pull shot for six off Jofra Archer on the first ball he faced. The six looked like another gesture this time to selectors, supposedly saying: Why it took you so long?
SKY’s stepping stone: Kolkata Knight Riders
Many might not be familiar but Suryakumar Yadav or SKY first gained recognition with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) franchise. He played a pivotal role in KKR’s 2014 title-winning IPL season. The top-order batsman joined the Mumbai Indians squad ahead of the 2018 IPL season. He continued his form and reached the 400-run mark in the 2018 and 2019 IPL seasons. He kept churning out runs for the Mumbai side when needed and provided the stability in the middle order.
SKY ka time aagya!
After his snub ahead of the Australia tour, BCCI selector Abey Kuruvilla had said "Sky ka time ayega", and his time did come. In just two innings SKY proved that whether it’s an adventurous slap sweep off a pace bowler or a delicate, pleasing to the eye inside-out six over cover off a spinner, he has the talent and skills to not just stay but dominate at the international level.
With the maturity and patience, he has shown in the last two years, there's no doubting that Suryakumar could reach the pinnacle of world cricket despite having a late arrival in international arena. With 4-5 years still left in his cricketing career, Suryakumar would want to make the most of it without setting any limitations.
Sky has a limit…. But not SKY!