Ex-cricketer Ajay Jadeja exposed Team India head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma's lies that destroyed struggling Suryakumar Yadav's (SKY) confidence following the 32-year-old batter's triple duck outing in the just-concluded ODI series against Australia.
According to Ajay Jadeja, while Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma have continued to back Suryakumar Yadav publicly their actions suggested otherwise.
Explaining his criticism of Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma over their tactics related to Suryakumar Yadav, the ex-India middle-order batter questioned the duo's decision to demote SKY in the third ODI in Chennai.
Ajay Jadeja reckoned that Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma's strategy to send Suryakumar Yadav to bat at No.7 in Tamil Nadu backfired as it dented his confidence.
“You played him, some people thought that he shouldn't play, but you did back him. But you also had a doubt, that's a fact. It was visible through your decision. You thought ‘he isn't in form, so we can't send him at this moment because he is failing against swing'. When he came at the end, the game became even more difficult,” Ajay Jadeja told Cricbuzz.
“When you're going through a good time, it doesn't matter if you make the batter wait. But if the form isn't good and you let the player wait for his batting, his mind would run in different directions. He is a human being!”
“He's the same Suryakumar Yadav who scored 360 degrees across the ground. It isn't as if he doesn't know how to play. It's all about the mind. When someone like Virat Kohli faced so many months out of form, it means there's something in the mind that affects your game. If you're thinking too much, and you're making the player wait for his batting, the doubt only increases,” Ajay Jadeja explained.
“In our days, it used to be said that if someone isn't in form, and if he plays at no.4 and you send him at no.7, it will always be more challenging. You will always feel more comfortable when you bat up the order. When you come at no.7, whatever strength you have in your batting, you've already lost 60-80 percent of it. You haven't made it any easier. You can only regain form when you play ahead. You can't save anyone. If you try to save someone, this game will only kill you more,” Ajay Jadeja stated.
Ajay Jadeja's comments came after Suryakumar Yadav became the first international cricketer to score three consecutive golden ducks in ODIs this week.
The 32-year-old player's bizarre feat came against Australia following his dismissal for naught in the final match in Chennai. Before his dismissal to Ashton Agar on the first delivery he faced at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Suryakumar Yadav suffered a similar fate in Mumbai and Visakhapatnam, losing his wicket on ball No.1 at the two venues.
In the post-match analysis on Star Sports, his fellow commentators asked the legendary Sunil Gavaskar about what was wrong with Suryakumar Yadav. The 1983 World Cup winner pointed out that the No.1 T20I batter was perhaps a bit anxious besides getting two good balls from Mitchell Starc in Mumbai and Visakhapatnam.
“Nothing, nothing,” Sunil Gavaskar said.
“He has just got to understand that this can happen to the best of players and it has happened to the best of players. So I think, all he has got to do now is forget these 3 matches and focus on the IPL, get runs over there. Once he gets runs in the IPL, he will come back confident for the next one-day game,” he added.
“Well, he was out first-ball 3 times. It's very difficult to say what is going wrong. Yes, there were two good deliveries that Mitchell Starc bowled in the first 2 matches. Yes, he might have been a little too anxious,” the ex-India skipper argued.
Suryakumar Yadav has contrasting stats in T20Is and ODIs. In T20Is, Suryakumar Yadav has become the backbone of India's batting, and the 32-year-old dasher became the first Indian batter to score over a thousand runs in a calendar year in T20Is, in 2022. On the other hand, he's yet to cement his place in the 50-over format, forget winning matches.
Unlike the T20Is, where he is the No.1 batter in the world, Suryakumar Yadav has failed to make much of an impact, having collected 433 runs at an under-par average of 25.05, with two fifties in 23 ODIs. His highest score of 64 in ODIs came a year ago, in February 2022.
Like Sunil Gavaskar, India captain Rohit Sharma defended Suryakumar Yadav, saying three balls cannot be used as a barometer to judge a player's caliber, skill set, and talent.
“He only played three balls in three (games) this series. I don't know how much to look into it. He got three good balls, to be honest. Today, it wasn't that good ball; he should have gone forward. He knows best. He plays spin so well. We have seen that over last couple of years. That's why we held him back and give him that role for the last 15-20 overs where he can play his game, but it's really unfortunate he could only play three balls. That can happen to anyone. But the potential and ability is always there. He is just going through that phase right now,” Rohit Sharma said after the match.
Even the great Kapil Dev praised the Indian team management for backing Suryakumar Yadav before adding that the explosive batter deserved a long rope in ODIs given that he could emerge as the X-factor in a World Cup year.
“A cricketer who has played so well will always get more chances. Don't compare Surya with Sanju Samson, it doesn't seem right. If Sanju goes through a bad phase then you will talk about somebody else. This should not happen. If the team management has decided to back Suryakumar Yadav then he should be given more chances. Yes, people will talk, give their opinion but ultimately it's the management's call,” Kapil Dev told ABP News.
“It's very easy to talk after the match is finished. Maybe the idea behind sending Suryakumar at No.7 was to give him an opportunity as a finisher. This (shuffling of the batting order) is nothing new in ODIs. This has happened many times before. Yes, at times it can happen that a batter's confidence is dented if he has been dragged down the order. But the onus rests on the player to tell his captain that ‘I can handle myself in the top order.' The coach and captain must have taken the decision with particular thinking,” he added.