OPINION: Suryakumar Yadav Is A Good Choice For Vice-Captaincy
In what perhaps could be a significantly indicative move in the transition period of Indian T20I cricket, the BCCI and selectors have announced Suryakumar Yadav as the vice-captain for the upcoming 3 T20I series at home against Sri Lanka, starting January 3.
Hardik Pandya will lead the T20I side once again - although it is not yet official that he’s the new full-time captain because Rohit Sharma is not part of this T20I squad as he continues to tend to his injured thumb and Rohit Sharma will return in the ODI series that follows the T20Is.
One thing is for sure: Hardik Pandya has usurped KL Rahul in the leadership ranks because Pandya is the deputy to Sharma in the ODI series with KL Rahul named only as a player while being the designated deputy to Sharma in 2022. This highly suggests that Pandya is the next in line for the T20I captaincy after Sharma.
Talk of Suryakumar Yadav, making him the vice-captain, and including him in the leadership group could prove to be a game-changing move for India as they prepare for the 2024 T20 World Cup. And now with Rishabh Pant’s place also becoming untenable in T20Is, it can be said with some degree of confidence that SKY is right behind Sharma and Pandya in the captaincy pecking order in T20Is.
After setbacks in the last two T20 World Cups, Rohit, Kohli, and perhaps even KL Rahul could be excluded from the scheme of things in T20Is this year by the new selection committee of the BCCI.
Suryakumar Yadav has had a sensational T20I career so far. He is a late bloomer, having made his T20I and India debut at the age of 30, in March 2021. But SKY has taken the world by storm: in 42 T20Is, he’s racked up 1408 runs at an average of 44, and a strike rate of 180 - this level of average and strike rate - plus his other-worldly range shot-making - sets him apart from every batsman in the world.
India’s own 360-degree batsman, Suryakumar Yadav has pummelled 2 centuries and 12 fifties so far.
Two primary reasons are pronounced for Suryakumar Yadav being named the vice-captain of the T20I team, or for being added to the leadership. First, his stunning form, and second, a consequence of the first, Suryakumar Yadav has a certain spot in India’s best T20I XI.
Unlike KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav is a guaranteed starter in India’s T20I XI currently. Both Rahul and Pant are currently struggling for consistency, and India already have proper backups or replacements of both of them. For Suryakumar Yadav, though, there is no replacement, just as there is no replacement for Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah.
Suryakumar Yadav has experience of captaining Mumbai’s domestic side with some success, and has also been assisting Rohit Sharma in the Mumbai Indians for the past few years.
He has already shown that he is one of the calmest customers with the bat in hand and during fielding. Adding a leadership duty is unlikely to faze him or add pressure on him. On the contrary, someone like Suryakumar Yadav might even thrive more with the leadership duty on his hand.
“I wasn’t expecting but the way last year had gone, I can only say that it’s like a reward to me. It feels great and I am really looking forward to it. I closed my eyes and thought,” Is this a dream?” but it felt really nice,” Suryakumar said in being named the vice-captain.
“It still feels like a dream but it’s the hard work of the past so many years. It was like a seed planted years ago and now the tree has grown up. Now I’m eating the fruits of it. I will try to stretch it as long as I can.”
India’s squad for Sri Lanka T20Is: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav (VC), Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, Mukesh Kumar.