Ricky Ponting recently recalled the journey of Suryakumar Yadav in T20 cricket, remembering how he struggled for game time at Mumbai Indians before coming to the spotlight with Kolkata Knight Riders. Yadav has become the cornerstone of Mumbai's success in the tournament over the last few seasons.
Suryakumar Yadav's surge in T20s has been a thing to behold over the last few years, emerging as India's most reliable batter despite being flanked by the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. The Mumbaikar is already third in the ICC T20I rankings and is quite easily the most explosive top-order batsman amongst the top teams with a phenomenal international strike rate of 174.71. Yadav first came to the spotlight during his team at Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League after the two-time champions recruited him from the auctions in 2014 following a lack of opportunity for the batter with the Mumbai Indians.
“When I was in Mumbai, he [Yadav] 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 where his career started to turn around,” Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting was quoted as saying in the ICC Review.
The Knight Riders utilized Yadav's hitting talents in the role of a finisher, with the 32-year-old racking up some great cameos. He eventually got a chance to shine in a better capacity during a game against the Mumbai Indians in the 2015 edition, firing his team to victory with a 20-ball 46. Yadav eventually ended up back in his home city in the 2018 season and has been a match-winner for them since, tallying over 2,000 runs for the five-time champions, striking over 140 over the last three editions.
“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,” Ponting added.
The right-hand batter is currently in Thiruvananthapuram for the first T20I against South Africa and is expected to be India's player to look out for in the World T20 Down Under next month.