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“But if your Man of the Match is getting dropped…”, Kapil Dev’s remark on Suryakumar Yadav

Suryakumar Yadav is undoubtedly one of the best T20 batters in the current times and the leading run-scorer in the T20 format at the end of 2022. The same continued in 2023 with his third international century during the third and final T20I against Sri Lanka.  

Suryakumar recently amazed the audience with yet another T20I century, in the space of six months, as he hit an outstanding 112 not out in the third T20I match in Rajkot.

Although Suryakumar Yadav’s century in the third T20I wasn’t unexpected, what transpired in the following game most definitely was. When India decided not to incorporate SKY for their upcoming game, both fans and former cricket players were stunned. Even though Yadav joined the elite list of just 5 international batters who have scored three or more centuries in the T20 format, he has been benched for the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka.

When India decided not to include Suryakumar in their upcoming match—the first ODI against the same opponents— cricket fans and veteran cricket players were both stunned. People did not appreciate the decision to exclude SKY and substitute Shreyas Iyer for him in a game. Former BCCI selections chairman Kris Srikkanth even apologized to Surya live on television as viewers struggled to comprehend what they had just witnessed.

India had already won the series when Surya was removed cheaply for four in the third ODI. Although Suryakumar is a master in T20Is, he hasn’t exactly made his success in ODIs.

India has played less one-day internationals than other countries in the past year, but that should change now that the 50-over format is taking centre stage. As a result, Suryakumar’s performance in these matches is even more important. The fact that there is currently too much competition between players vying for a single position, or multiple players gunning for one position is one cause of this contentious Suryakumar treatment.

Dropping Suryakumar, the previous man of the match, in the next game is criticized by the 1983 World Cup holder Kapil Dev.

“Having said that, they should have one set of teams for a period of time. You can change an odd person I can understand that. But if you Man of the Match (Suryakumar Yadav) is getting dropped the next day and somebody else comes in, we as cricketers don’t understand that,”.

The choice to drop Suryakumar, for whom Kapil had reserved high regard, is something the former India all-rounder found difficult to comprehend. Kapil previously said that batsmen like him only appear once per century.

Also, Suryakumar previously stated that he wants to improve in ODIs, and now that he has also received his first call-up for a Test match, that determination should only get more ferocious. Suryakumar hasn’t scored a half-century in any of his last 10 ODI innings, with his best score coming in November at 34 not out. But Kapil was still baffled as to why he was left out of the game after recording a century.

According to Kapil Dev, one solution to the problem is to have distinct teams for each format of cricket. When BCCI selected a group of 15 players for the World Cup, Kapil Dev feels that the Indian cricket team would eventually have three different sets of players for each format.

“I think we should leave it to the cricket board what they (selectors) plan. There are so many cricketers coming so everyone should get a chance to play. From what I can see from the outside is that they will have three teams – one each for T20Is, ODIs, and Tests. That way, you can have a bigger pool,” Kapil said in an interaction with Gulf News.

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