India captain Rohit Sharma has leapt to the defence of underperforming white-ball star Suryakumar Yadav and insisted the dynamic batter will be given more time to find form at ODI level.
While Suryakumar has been revelation in the shortest format of the game and was recently crowned the ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year for 2022, the explosive star has not yet been able to match his heroics in 50-over cricket for his country.
Suryakumar has passed 50 just twice in 23 ODI appearances and the 32-year-old has made it into double figures on just three occasions in his last 10 innings.
This run of poor form has been further compounded during India’s ongoing three-match ODI series at home against Australia, with Suryakumar trapped LBW for a golden duck in both of the opening two matches by experienced left-armer Mitchell Starc.
While admitting Suryakumar’s run of outs is not ideal, Rohit said the attacking right-hander will be given further opportunities to show his wares in the format.
“Yes he got out in the last two games and the series before that as well, but he needs that consistent run, like back-to-back games, 7-8 or 10 games like that, so that he feels more comfortable,” Rohit said after India’s 10-wicket loss to Australia on Sunday.
“Right now, he has got in the place when someone’s been injured or someone’s not available. As management we can look into the performance when you give that consistent run and then you feel that okay, the runs are not coming and (he’s) not looking comfortable.
“Then, we will start thinking about it. Right now, we have not gone that route.”
India’s top-order looks relatively settled ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup that is scheduled to take place later this year, but they have plenty to ponder in the middle-order as Suryakumar battles it out with fellow batters Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson and KL Rahul for a spot in the XI.
Iyer is currently nursing a back injury and Rohit said Suryakumar will be persisted with for the time being while the right-hander remains sidelined.
“We don’t know about Iyer’s return. At this time there is a spot available so we have to play him (Suryakumar). He has obviously shown a lot of potential with white-ball and I have said it many times before, guys with potential will be given some run,” Rohit said.
“Of course, he knows what he needs to do while in a slightly longer format of the game as well. I think things are there in his mind as well. Like I said, guys with potential will have enough run where you know they should not feel that ‘okay, you know I wasn’t given enough chances in that particular slot’.”
The third and final game of the ODI series between India and Australia will be held in Chennai on Wednesday, with the winner of that contest to claim the series 2-1 and bragging rights ahead of the World Cup later in the year.