India batter Suryakumar Yadav scripted a “pathetic” world record this week, becoming the first international cricketer to score three consecutive golden ducks in ODIs. 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.

With Suryakumar Yadav setting an unwanted record, Team India supporters took to Twitter to blast him for his batting display against the Australians.

While some called him a “minnow basher” for his fine performances against lower-ranked sides like Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, and Afghanistan, others claimed he wasn't good enough to be a part of India's ODI eleven.

 

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.

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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.

Meanwhile, former India opener Aakash Chopra blasted head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma for demoting Suryakumar Yadav in the batting order in Chennai. In the final ODI against Australia in Tamil Nadu, Suryakumar Yadav came out to bat at No.7 instead of his customary No.4 position.

“Playing SKY in the last ODI was the right thing to do. Sending him at 7 wasn’t. If you want to back someone and have faith in their abilities, you ought to walk the talk. IMHO,” Aakash Chopra tweeted.

When reporters enquired Rohit Sharma about the tactic to drop Suryakumar Yadav to No.7, he revealed that he was slated to bat at No.5 but was pushed down the order to take on the Australian bowlers in the last 15-20 overs.

“He plays spin really well which is why we wanted to hold him back and give him the last 15-20 overs where he could play his game. But it’s really unfortunate he could only play three balls in the series. That can happen to anyone. The potential, the quality, is always there. He is just going through that (lean) phase right now.”

“Once we played the first 10 overs, the ball did not swing at all. There was no question of swing where Surya could be troubled or anything like that. It was a tactical move. We wanted to use his potential at the back end along with Hardik. These two players would have been ideal for us but unfortunately, they got out,” Rohit Sharma concluded.