3 Unsung Heroes Behind Suryakumar Yadav’s Success
The fact that Suryakumar Yadav’s slowest T20I fifty is of strike rate 141 - which is still a significant task for some of the other Indian top order batters who enjoy the privilege of batting in the powerplay - tells the modus operandi of the current number 1 ranked ICC T20I men’s batter.
With 45 T20Is under his belt, and less than two years of experience at the international level, 31-year-old Suryakumar Yadav is already a T20 legend. Since the day he smacked Jofra Archer for a first-ball six, no batsman has scored more than Suryakumar Yadav’s 1578 at a better strike rate than his 180. His average of 46 and strike rate of 180 is a surreal combination - a dream for perhaps any other batter playing T20 cricket at the top level.
All of his 3 T20I centuries have come under 50 balls, and eight of his 16 50-plus scores have come at a strike rate of more than 200. India’s Mr 360-degree is known for his ability to toy with the bowlers and fielders to access all parts of the ground, and put the balls in the gaps, and over the fielders’ heads
It is known that Suryakumar Yadav is a late bloomer in international cricket, having made his India debut at the age of 30.
Here are the 3 important people who have helped shape the staggering career that is Suryakumar Yadav’s:
Wife - Devisha Shetty
Even though Suryakumar kept charting up runs in domestic cricket and remained impressive in the IPL, a national call-up didn’t seem coming. A crucial reason for that was his fitness, and also there had been murmurs in domestic cricket about his temperament and anger issues.
There is no doubt that his wife Devisha helped him immensely in helping him become a fitter athlete, and a better and calmer human being, both of which eventually helped the Mumbaikar excel in his profession.
Speaking with Rahul Dravid recently, Suryakumar recalled how he even went behind in the Yo-Yo test, before which his wife helped him get his diet and nutrition in order.
“That was actually the turning point,” Suryakumar said when Dravid asked him about his fitness journey. “After I got married, my wife has been pushing me really hard in terms of nutrition, in terms of staying fit. We talk about cricket a lot when I go back home, and we discuss how we can get better, how we can be one step ahead at this level, and we really enjoy doing that.”
Parents - Ashok Kumar Yadav & Swapna Yadav
Before Devisha came into the whole picture, it were Suryakumar’s parents Ashok and Swapna who supported the youngster who wanted to take up cricket as a profession. That Ashok, an electrical engineer, didn’t have any background of sports in his family, didn’t deter them his from giving his son the freedom to pursue what he felt was his calling. Ashok enrolled his son in a camp in the BARC colony.
“My family has played the most important role in my cricketing journey till now. They have sacrificed a lot. When I started, they were the ones who helped me. In my family, there’s no history of sports. My dad is an engineer. So I had to be a little different for him to see a spark in me and push me,” Suryakumar said.
To celebrate and to remember his parents, Suryakumar had got a tattoo of his parents on his right arm.
In the IPL 2020, which was played in the UAE, Suryakumar Yadav had one of his best IPL seasons - 480 runs at average of 40 and strike rate of 145 - it was Rohit Sharma, the then India vice-captain, who declared in front of the entire Mumbai Indians camp that Suryakumar is not too far away from an India call-up.
In that phase, SKY was also excelling in the IPL, after being promoted in the batting order when joining MI from KKR in 2018. He got a call-up to India a bit later than Rohit’s declaration, and in March 2021, he made his T20I debut and the rest is history.