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It’s time the Mumbai Indians’ blue turns to Indian blue for SKY

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on October 29, 2020
Suryakumar Yadav of Mumbai Indians gestures after winning the match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday night. — BCCI/IPL

Suryakumar Yadav has been prolific with the bat but continues to be snubbed by the Indian selectors

Under the pitch-dark Abu Dhabi sky, Suryakumar Yadav shone bright with all his radiance. SKY, as he is known, illuminated the spacecraft-shaped Zayed Cricket Stadium, and it was a knock straight from out of this planet..

The Mumbaikar was right in the zone, and nothing, absolutely nothing could flinch him, not even the needle between him and the opposition captain Virat Kohli.

It was one of those special knocks that made the chase look easy and propelled Mumbai Indians past the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Come to think of it, the 30-year-old has done it time and time again, season after season, but the Indian colours have eluded him time and time again, though for no fault of his own.

Yadav has been one of the most consistent batsmen on India’s domestic circuit, not to mention the IPL.

The numbers speak for itself.

Yadav plundered 512 and 424 runs in 2018 and 2019 respectively since rejoining the Mumbai Indians. He has so far amassed 362 runs from 12 fixtures at an average 40.22 in this edition. A bulk of those runs — 335 — have come in the UAE capital, where the Mumbai Indians are residents of.

Yet, Yadav has again been overlooked by the Indian selection panel, chaired by former India left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi.

With all due respect to the players who have been chosen, Yadav doesn’t figure in any of the squads for India’s tour of Australia that follows just after the IPL.

Indian coach Ravi Shastri, in a rather cryptic tweet, asked for patience. “Surya namaskar” followed by a hands folded emoji. He then went on to add: “Stay strong and patient.”

Stay strong, Yadav has, and he has been patient too. But the question is, for how long? It is baffling that Yadav still finds himself on the sidelines despite doing everything worth his salt. And there has been no explanation forthcoming.

After he did the ‘Keep calm, I’m here’ gesture, Kieron Pollard, his captain on the night, could exactly feels Yadav’s emotion and went up to him and had a word. Later, the West Indian went on to say that deep down Yadav would’ve been disappointed after again being denied the opportunity to don the India blue but believed that he was close.

Staying on selection, another baffling one is that of Rishabh Pant in the Test team. Not to question his run-making abilities, but as can be seen during the ongoing IPL, Pant is clearly out of shape and it begs the question that if he doesn't ‘fit’ into India’s T20 and ODI scheme of things, can he last the rigours of Test match cricket Down Under? Sanju Samson, who has worked on his game, has all the shots in the book and who is a better wicketkeeper, could have been first choice Wriddhiman Saha’s understudy.

Coming back to SKY, it would be nothing short of a tragedy if Yadav ends up being one of the many to have been lost to Indian cricket.

Former New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris suggested to Yadav to play for New Zealand if he fancied playing international cricket.

We hope it doesn’t come to that and the Mumbai Indians’ blue can turn into the Indian blue for SKY, someday.

james@khaleejtimes.com





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