Suryakumar Yadav has to bat at No. 3 in T20 World Cup: Brian Lara


PTI, May 7, 2024, 8:52 PM IST

Suryakumar Yadav (Credit: PTI / file)

New Delhi: Suryakumar Yadav has to bat at number three, said the legendary Brian Lara as he rooted for an India-West Indies final at the T20 World Cup next month to fix the “wrong” of 2007 when India’s early exit “killed us in the Caribbean”.

India have expectedly retained proven performers like skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the squad, while deciding to keep young talent like Shubman Gill and Rinku Singh among reserves. Suryakumar, though, is part of the main squad.

“My one advice, and I don’t know if you’re going to like it or not, but Sky has to bat at three. He just has to bat at three. He is one of the greatest T20 players in the game. And you speak to players like Sir Viv, and he will tell you he used to want to get out there in the middle,” Lara said in an interaction with PTI editors at its headquarters which was facilitated by Star Sports.

“And I feel that that’s the same thing with SKY. So, get in on it as quickly as possible. He’s not an opener, get him out there and if he can bat for 10-15 overs, you know what’s going to happen.”

“He’s going to put you in an unassailable position if you bat him first, or he’s going to win the game if he’s batting second. And then let everybody sort of position themselves outside of that, but a good structure is important,” he explained.

Suryakumar usually bats at number four for India and Kohli at three. Kohli opening the innings alongside Rohit to accommodate Surya at three is an option which will leave Yashasvi Jaiswal on the bench.

“Just find a way to make Suryakumar bat at three,” stressed Lara.

Lara, who is doing commentary in the IPL, said India doing well could also culminate in a final showdown with West Indies, which would make up for the disaster that was the 2007 ODI World Cup where India made a preliminary round exit.

“The West Indies should do well. They have a lot of individual stars and when they come together as a team they do well. India, with all their cry over selection, they find themselves in the top four.”

“England they seem to enjoy Caribbean a lot, lay on the beach a lot. England will be there and fourth spot, Afghanistan, they are capable of getting into the four,” he said.

“India and West Indies final is going to make up for so much wrong that has happened in the past. India missing out in 2007 in second round, that killed us in the Caribbean. We don’t want that to happen again. So, India and West Indies in the final and may the best team win,’ he added.

The four-spinner strategy

India have picked four spinners in the squad, including Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja, the last two being all-rounders. Lara sees only a couple of them playing in the eleven.

“In terms of spinners, I don’t want to dig too deep into having four spinners because I don’t think you’re going to play four spinners. But I like the fact that Chahal is there. He is not just an IPL star. You look at him, oh, you look at the brains that he put behind the ball, the deliveries, he’s out-thinking the batter.”

“And also, Kuldeep. So, I see those guys are guys who are going to get wickets for you, not just look to restrain the battle or scared to bowl an attacking delivery.”

Asked about the two finalists of the World Cup, Lara picked India and West Indies.

The talk around Kohli’s strike rate has been incessant but Lara reckons players like him are needed in the playing eleven.

“You have to have a player like Virat in the playing eleven,” Lara added.

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