Australia cricket legend Ricky Ponting has heaped praise on India batter Suryakumar Yadav, comparing the Mumbai Indians batter with AB de Villiers. Ponting said the India star possessed the same 360-degree game as the legendary South African.
Ponting also suggested that Yadav’s best batting position was number four in the Indian team.
“Surya (Yadav) scores 360 degrees around the ground, a bit like an AB de Villiers did when he was in his actual prime,” Ponting said during the latest episode of The ICC Review. “The lap shots, the late cuts, you know, the ramps over the keeper’s head. He can hit down the ground.”
The 31-year-old batter has scored 672 runs in 23 T20 matches at a strike rate of 175.45 and an average of 37.33. He now sits second in the ICC T20 Batter Rankings, behind Pakistan captain Babar Azam.
“He hits really well over the leg side, flicks to deep backward square particularly well, and he’s a good player of fast bowling and is a good player of spin bowling,” Ponting, who witnessed Yadav’s development during his early years with the Mumbai Indians, said.
“He’s a very, very exciting player and I’m sure someone that’s going to find himself in their team, not just their squad. I think you’d find him in their team for the T20 World Cup. And if he’s in that team, then I think all the fans in Australia are going to see a very, very good player.”
Ponting also said Yadav was a confident person — he backed himself and would never shy away from a challenge or a situation in a game.
“I feel he thinks he can win that situation and therefore go on and win the game for his team.” Pointing also said Yadav played better than anyone else in Team India over the last few series and should be batting at the top order.
“It’s got to be in the top four, I think. I said stick with him (Virat Kohli) in his traditional spot, which has been number three,” said the two-time World Cup-winning captain.
“For Surya, it’s one, two or four. I think he can open, but I think he’s probably, you know, if you could probably just keep him away from the new ball, let him control the middle part of the game outside the Powerplay, through in the middle, and if he’s in at the end, you know what can happen.”
The India batter has a strike rate of 258.82 in the slog overs in T20Is — he has scored 88 runs in 34 balls, with 15 of those deliveries dispatched for boundaries.
“I think in the top four is, well, actually I’ll go out on a limb: I don’t want him to open. I think number four is his best spot,” Pointing said.
Australia will play host to the ICC T20 World Cup in October-November.