Suryakumar Yadav, an Indian middle-order batsman, has been hailed by legendary Australia captain Ricky Ponting as a pathfinder who might encourage a new generation of athletes to adopt his style of play and elevate T20 cricket to "another level" internationally. After being just the second batter in the world to score 1000+ runs in a calendar year in the shortest version of the game, Suryakumar, 32, was just named the ICC Men's T20I Cricketer of the Year.
Surya amassed 1,164 runs in 2022, placing second only to Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan, who tops the rankings with 1,326 runs. Surya struck two centuries and nine half-tons en route to his 1,164 run total.
Ponting told ICC on Friday that Suryakumar was the best player in the game in terms of invention and technique.
"What it's going to do as well is inspire a lot of other players to copy what he's doing, which will raise the bar for skill in T20 matches everywhere.
The Australian legend continued, "Someone said during the IPL this year (2022), there will be men who will attempt and do precisely the same as what Surya's doing, and that's going to be terrific for the game.
Surya scored more than 1,100 runs in 31 T20Is last year, averaging 46.56 and striking out at an astounding 187.43, propelling him to the top of the ICC Men's T20I Batting Rankings.
Ponting also referred to the Indian player as the game's greatest inventor in the shorter format, contrasting his batting technique with that of former Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist and South African white-ball specialist AB de Villiers.
"He is currently performing it more skillfully than anyone has ever. We discuss players who have 360-degree scoring capabilities. He's hitting some absolutely incredible drives back behind the wicketkeeper and over fine leg." Ponting claimed that while watching Surya play in the IPL a few years ago, he immediately recognized his natural skill.
The hitter, according to the former captain, has elevated his stroke-play and is making some really adventurous plays, like as flicking short balls for sixes over the wicket-head. keeper's
"He began doing that (innovating) a lot in the IPL five or six years ago. He had a great talent for flipping the ball over deep-backward square and fine-leg "said Ponting.
In order to go for six instead of simply four, Surya is now able to strike short balls on the way up and flip short balls over the keeper's head. Ponting stated that despite his early doubts, Suryakumar has succeeded thanks to his strong work ethic and rigorous routine.
The player finished third in terms of runs scored at the T20 World Cup in Australia with 239, only behind Virat Kohli (296) and Max O'Dowd of the Netherlands (242).
Then, he kept up the fine performance in the T20I series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand, moving up to the second-highest T20 batting rating ever recorded (908) points.
To be perfectly honest, I didn't anticipate he'd reach the level he has, Ponting remarked.
"You can definitely tell by the form of his body that he has worked as hard as he has. Being surrounded by the Indian team's tremendously fit young players like Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, and these others has definitely made him fitter than he's ever been."
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India may make some adjustments as they aim for a 3-0 victory