South Africa pacer Vernon Philander faced a severe social media backlash for calling India batter Suryakumar Yadav a “kid” on Twitter.

Surprisingly, Vernon Philander’s comments came in appreciation of Suryakumar Yadav’s recent performances, including a match-winning knock of 69 off 36 deliveries against Australia in the last T20I at Hyderabad on Sunday.

On Wednesday, Suryakumar Yadav once again powered India to a comfortable eight-wicket triumph over South Africa in the first T20I of the three-match series in Thiruvananthapuram. The 32-year-old batsman who has been in red-hot form of late, struck a quickfire unbeaten 50 off 33 balls, including three sixes and five boundaries.

“This kid can play. Wow exciting to watch Suryakumar Yadav,” Vernon Philander wrote on Twitter.

However, Vernon Philander’s choice of words wasn’t much appreciated by Indian fans on social media as they trolled the South African for labeling Suryakumar Yadav a “kid”, considering the India batter is just five years younger than him.

On the other hand, a few netizens were extremely critical of Vernon Philander’s remarks as they claimed that as far as performances go, Suryakumar Yadav is the Proteas speedster’s “daddy”.

Earlier, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting revealed the turning point of Suryakumar Yadav’s career.

“When I was in Mumbai, he was an 18-19-year-old kid, a young man. He was in our squad not quite getting a game. The year after I left, he was traded to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) where his career started to turn around. He got a bit of an opportunity in the middle order and then MI bought him back in the auction and has been a match-winning player for them for five or six seasons now, to the point that he is one of their retained players”, Ricky Ponting told ICC.

Meanwhile, in a recent interaction with Hindustan Times, Suryakumar Yadav spoke about his mindset in the middle and why he’s always looking to smash the ball out of the park.

“The mindset has always been the same since I started playing, it just got a good direction to it. Nothing has changed. I always enjoy it (fearless approach). When I made my debut for Mumbai as well, the only thing which came to my mind was attack. At that time also, I used to feel attack is the best defence,” Suryakumar said

“So, it kept building from that and slowly when I came into this set-up, I realised what my game was, how I can be a little different which can help my team from unreal situations, and I wanted to be a little different. I wanted to be batting in difficult situations and I wanted to be that factor a team is always looking for,” he added.

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Notably, Suryakumar Yadav was dealing with stomach issues ahead of India’s final T20I against Australia in Hyderabad but somehow managed to recover on time to feature in the game.

“There was a little issue. The weather changed and now we have started traveling as well. So I had a stomach ache and then fever,” Suryakumar Yadav told teammate Axar Patel in an interview posted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“At the same time, I knew this one is the decider. So I told my doctor and physio, ‘If this would’ve been the World Cup final, then how will I react? I can’t sit like this.’ So I told them, ‘do anything — give me any medicine, injection — do everything you can to get me fit for the game. (And) once you have worn the jersey and are on the ground then the emotion is different,'” Suryakumar Yadav said.

The Mumbai Indians batter also talked about his knock in Hyderabad where he stitched together a huge partnership with Virat Kohli to bail India out of a precarious situation and also explained why he decided to take on the Australian bowlers before he lost his wicket for 69.

“In that situation, it was much needed. I thought let’s take my chance. There were two-three shots in my mind, was trying to hit over mid-off. Thoughts have always been the same, have always wanted to express myself. That’s how I practice in the nets. Just loving at No.4. A lot of challenges and responsibilities as well [for the T20 WC]. You can’t shy away from expressing yourself. Have to be smart,” he concluded.

Suryakumar Yadav will return to action on Sunday when India will take on South Africa in the second T20I in Guwahati.

India squad for South Africa T20Is: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Shahbaz Ahmed.