T20 World Cup: Former Pakistan captains Misbah-ul Haq, Shoaib Malik reveal how England can stop India's SKY

They believe that Suryakumar is not invincible despite his unstoppable run with the bat

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Thu 10 Nov 2022, 8:14 AM

Virat Kohli may have played arguably the greatest innings in T20 history during the ICC TwentyT20 World Cup opener against Pakistan, but it's Suryakumar Yadav who is hogging the limelight Down Under.

Suryakumar, who is also known as SKY in the cricketing world, trails top-scorer Kohli (246 runs, average 123, strike rate 138.98) by 21 runs with both having played five matches in the tournament so far.

But it's Suryakumar's astonishing strike-rate of 193.96 that has made the rival captains scratch their heads in frustration.

Now it will be England captain Jos Buttler who has to come up with solutions in the team's semifinal encounter today against the versatile Indian batsman whose destructive and inventive shot-making have put bowling attacks to the sword.


But two former Pakistan captains seem to have found a theory for the fielding team that can neutralise the threat of the red-hot Indian middle-order batsman.

Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik believe the key to success against SKY will be in field placements.

"I think he is utilising the pace very well. If he gets width outside the off-stump, he will use the pace and play his shots," Misbah said during a panel discussion on ASports.

"So, the field placement is very important. I think the fielders in the fine-leg and square leg will have a big role to play. He uses the gap between the two positions very well.

"So those two fielders have to be placed very smartly by the fielding captain. And the England bowlers have to find a way to stop him from playing to his strength."

Meanwhile, Malik felt Suryakumar is not invincible despite his unstoppable run with the bat that has seen him become the world number one batsmen in ICC T20 rankings.

"I think field placement will be the key. They also need to find a way of placing the mid-on and mid-off fielders. You have to bring the mid-on up and push the mid-off a little back," Malik said.

"England have to be innovative in their field placements against him because I haven't seen him play much over the head of the mid-on fielder.

"He loves to play over the extra cover and over mid-off. So, bring the mid-on up and bowl him the length ball. If you do that, he will be forced to go over the mid-on fielder. And that's when you have a chance of getting him out."

So, has the England coaching staff identified that line of attack against the world's best T20 batsman?

We will find out when India take on England in the semifinal today.

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