'It will be huge gamble…': Gambhir's outright warning to Team India if Suryakumar is picked in first XI for World Cup
Head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma have had faith in Suryakumar Yadav for the past 24 months. On Friday in Mohali, he finally paid them back by scoring his first fifty in an ODI match in 590 days. It was the first game of the series against Australia.
Suryakumar's 51 possibly came a little too late, but it was timed so that India plays Pat Cummins' team in Chennai almost two weeks before their World Cup opener.
Does the one knock, though, put him right into India's first XI for the World Cup? Gautam Gambhir, a legendary Indian batter, does see a chance, but he also gives Rohit and Dravid a warning.
A short-form cricket tournament in 2022 saw India's Suryakumar top the ICC T20I hitting rankings. This was the start of Project Suryakumar. In order to make the most of his T20 form, Rohit chose Suryakumar for the job. Before that, he was just Shreyas Iyer's back-up.
When Iyer got hurt in March, India gave Suryakumar a chance to play regularly in 2023, but the batter didn't do very well—he didn't get a single fifty and only averaged about 12 runs per game.
But on Friday, in the first ODI against Australia, Suryakumar hit an exciting fifty that helped India reach their goal of 276 runs with 8 balls to spare. Does the knock mean he will play in the first team at the World Cup?
Gambhir told Star Sports on YouTube that Suryakumar should play at No. 7 for India as a finisher if he is really the first choice player for the World Cup. But he warned that it would be a huge risk because the team would have to play Ravindra Jadeja at No. 5, which would put pressure on the top four.
"When you go to the World Cup, you usually have a set side that you play." You don't cut or change. Remember how little we changed for the 2011 World Cup? At first, Yusuf Pathan played five or six games. Then Suresh Raina took over.
I would want Suryakumar Yadav to bat at No. 6-7 if he is in your first playing XI. The big question then is who will bat at No. 5. After that, Jadeja can bat at No. 5, Hardik at No. 6, and Suryakumar as the end, where he can bat in the last 15 to 20 overs.
But picking between Jadeja at No. 5 and Suryakumar at No. 7 when Suryakumar is in such good form in ODIs will be a big risk. It would be very important for the top four to do this, he said.