Suryakumar is a bit like AB de Villiers, No. 4 is his best spot: Ponting

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Suryakumar Yadav has received high praise from the great Ricky Ponting, who compared the batter with AB de Villiers, saying the Indian possesses a 360 degree game like the South African genius.

Ponting suggested that Yadav should bat at number four in the Indian line-up.

“Surya (Yadav) scores 360 degrees around the ground, a bit like an AB de Villiers did when he was in his actual prime. The lap shots, the late cuts, you know, the ramps over the keeper’s head. He can hit down the ground,” Ponting said on the latest episode of The ICC Review.

“He hits really well over the leg side, flicks to deep backward square particularly well, and he’s a good player of fast bowling and is a good player of spin bowling.” Yadav, 31, has scored 672 runs at an average of 37.33 and a strike rate of 175.45 in 23 T20 matches and now sits at No.2 in the ICC T20 Batter Rankings, behind Pakistan skipper Babar Azam.

“He’s a very, very exciting player and I’m sure someone that’s going to find himself in their team, not just their squad,” Ponting, who has seen Yadav up close in his early years at Mumbai Indians, said.

“I think you’d find him in their team for the T20 World Cup. And if he’s in that team, then I think all the fans in Australia are going to see a very, very good player.

“He’s quite a confident person. He backs himself and he’s never going to step down from a challenge or any situation that arises in a game. I feel he thinks he can win that situation and therefore go on and win the game for his team.” Asked whether Yadav would make India’s best XI, the former Australian skipper said he has “played better than anybody else in the Indian team for the last couple of series” and should be slotted at the top order.

“It’s got to be in the top four, I think. I said stick with him (Virat Kohli) in his traditional spot, which has been number three,” Ponting, a two-time World Cup-winning captain, said.

“For Surya, it’s one, two or four. I think he can open, but I think he’s probably, you know, if you could probably just keep him away from the new ball, let him control the middle part of the game outside the Powerplay, through in the middle, and if he’s in at the end, you know what can happen.” Yadav’s strike rate rises to 258.82 in the death overs in T20Is — in 34 balls he has smashed 88 runs with 15 of those deliveries going for boundaries.

Ponting said: “I think in the top four is, well, actually I’ll go out on a limb: I don’t want him to open. I think number four is his best spot.” Australia will host the T20 World Cup in October-November.





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