A few of my shots are pre-determined, but these are the shots I’ve been playing over the last year: Suryakumar Yadav

Suryakumar Yadav
A few of my shots are pre-determined, but these are the shots I've been playing over the last year: Suryakumar Yadav. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

It was a case of new year, same Suryakumar Yadav, as India secured a T20I series win over Sri Lanka on the back of their star batter’s heroics.

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Picking up where he left off from his breathtaking year in 2022, the man known as SKY rocketed to a remarkable century in Rajkot, bringing up his hundred off just 45 deliveries.

And the 32-year-old’s extraordinary contribution helped India post what proved to be an insurmountable first-innings total of 228/5 in the third and deciding match of the series.

SKY finished unbeaten on 112* off just 51 deliveries, smashing nine sixes and seven fours in his match-winning knock, the second-fastest ton in men’s T20Is by an Indian batter following Rohit Sharma’s 35-ball effort against the same opposition country back in 2017.

“He has been surprising everyone and making everyone know that batting is very easy,” India’s captain Hardik Pandya said of his star player after the match.

“If I am a bowler, I will be disheartened with the shots he plays. He has played blinder after blinder.”

The middle-order batter’s century was his third in the international format in just seven months, making him the first player in the history of the game to score three T20I centuries when not opening the batting.

Suryakumar Yadav
Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“I’m really happy with the way the innings went,” Yadav said in a typically understated interview at the midway point of the match.

“A few of my shots are pre-determined, but these are the shots I’ve been playing over the last year and I’m not doing anything different. ​

“So nothing new. It’s a fresh start in 2023 and I hope to continue doing well.”

If SKY’s 2023 comes close to matching his efforts in the previous calendar year then the world is set for some game-changing and must-watch performances.

Yadav’s 2022 was statistically the best ever by an Indian in men’s T20I cricket, with the stroke-maker becoming only the second player to surpass 1000 runs in the format in a single calendar year, trailing only the efforts of Mohammad Rizwan in 2021.

It is not just the volume of the runs that continue to set SKY apart, however, but the manner and speed in which he scores them. In his 45-match T20I career to-date, Yadav’s runs have come at a strike rate of 180.34 – a figure that sets him far apart from the rest of the game’s biggest run-scorers.

And it is those qualities, as well as his weight of scoring, that sees him firmly ensconced at the top of the ICC Rankings, a position he has held since the autumn of 2022.

In the player’s words, it is a combination of hard work in the nets and the freedom given to him by the Indian captain and coaches that has set him up for such success.

“It is really important to put pressure on yourself when you are preparing for the game,” Yadav said after being named Player of the Match in Rajkot. “The more pressure you put, the better you can play.


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