As the India squad for the ODI World Cup 2023 was announced, Suryakumar Yadav‘s inclusion in the team did raise a few eyebrows considering the poor form the batter has shown since making his debut in the 50-over format for India. Some even felt that Sanju Samson should’ve been given the nod over Surya, owing to an exemplary record in the 50-over format. But, Harbhajan Singh isn’t in agreement. In fact, Bhajji feels what Suryakumar can do at the No. 5 or No. 6 position, no other batter in the Indian team can.
“I don’t think selectors have been harsh on Sanju Samson. Yes, I do feel Sanju is a very very good player, talented player, but you can only select 15 players. Before Sanju, Suryakumar should play, as the game he has right now, Sanju probably doesn’t. Suryakumar can make big runs but Sanju plays a high-risk form of cricket,” Harbhajan said in a chat on Star Sports.
“People might disagree with me, asking what has Suryakumar done in ODis? But What Suryakumar Yadav has done in T20Is, since he gets similar playing time in T20Is too, then at that no., there’s no player better in India. What he can do at that number, even Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma can’t,” he added, backing his point even though Surya’s form in ODI cricket has been quite poor.
“Batting at No. 5 and 6 is very tough. Dhoni has done it, Yuvi has done it. Opening is a zone in one day, you know you can score runs in the circle, you have 50 overs. But batting after 30-35 overs, you need to find gaps and hit boundaries. In the entire Indian team, no one can do that better than Suryakumar. I will always pick him in my team,” he explained.
The former India spinner is also of the opinion that Surya should always be a part of India’s XI in the ODI team, whether Samson has been selected or not.
“No matter if he does well or not, the pressure of him being a part of the team does fall on the opponents. He can turn out to be a match-winner any day. There should be no debate between him and Sanju Samson. Sanju is there in the team or not, Surya should be in the XI,” he concluded.
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