23 March,2023 01:59 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Rohit Sharma (left), Suryakumar Yadav (right) [Pic Courtesy: AP]
âWhat*s gone wrong with SKY?* - wasn*t the question most expected themselves to ask at the start of India*s bilateral ODI series against Australia, especially after a heavy backing from all veterans and experts for Team India*s flamboyant batter to live up to expectations. Suryakumar Yadav*s dismal form has come under a lot of scrutiny after the 32-year-old registered three successive golden ducks against Australia. However, captain Rohit Sharma, while backing Yadav, has hinted that the team management is not looking too much into his failures in the ODI series.
Yadav failed to open his account was again dismissed first ball by left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, after being trapped by Australian left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc in the first two ODIs. The team management backed him and included him in the playing XI for the series-decider on Wednesday, but in vain.
"He (Suryakumar) played only three balls in the series. I don*t know how much you can look into it. He got three good balls," Rohit told the media after India lost the third and final ODI by 21 runs to concede the series 1-2 to Australia. "(On Wednesday) I didn*t think it was that great a ball. He just chose the wrong shot. He should have, maybe, come forward. He knows best."
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Yadav has featured in overall 23 ODIs after his debut in July 2021, scoring 433 runs at a below-par average of 24.05. Sharma revealed Yadav was initially slotted to bat at number 5 but the team management held him back to face the Australian attack in the last 15-20 overs, and he actually walked out to bat at number 7.
"He plays spin really well which is why we wanted to hold him back and give him the last 15-20 overs where he could play his game. But it*s really unfortunate he could only play three balls in the series. That can happen to anyone. The potential, the quality, is always there. He is just going through that (lean) phase right now.
"Once we played the first 10 overs, the ball did not swing at all. There was no question of swing where Surya could be troubled or anything like that. It was a tactical move. We wanted to use his potential at the back end along with Hardik. These two players would have been ideal for us but unfortunately they got out."
Explaining further why Axar Patel came out to bat at number 5 ahead of Suryakumar, he said, "When KL (Rahul) and Virat (Kohli) were batting, they (Australia) were operating a leggie and a left-arm spinner. Surya was actually slotted to go in at five. But we thought the ball is taking some turn, and we didn*t want our right-handers to get stuck, which is why we wanted a left-hander. Axar, being in the form that he is, we wanted to ask him to go in and bat the way he does and take the spinners on. That is why we pushed him up the order. Hardik is obviously the best player at No. 6. We wanted to keep him there and then see between Surya and Jadeja, who we can ask to go before."
However, the ploy of pushing Axar up the order did not work, as he was run out for two in a bizarre mix-up with Kohli.
Kohli (54) and Rahul (32) added 69 runs for the third wicket to take India on course of overhauling the target of 270. But quick wickets on two occasions put paid to India*s hopes.
Rohit said the conditions were not *alien to us* and it*s about adapting to the difficult pitches and being fearless as well.
"Nine games is decent enough to analyse what we did right or wrong. We played consistent cricket up until this series. From the last two games we can understand what we need to do as a team against quality opposition, there are definitely a lot of things to look at. On this kind of pitches which turns a bit, it*s about understanding and adapting to the methods of scoring runs. Eventually you have to score runs no matter how the pitches are," Rohit said.
"If it*s swinging around, you cannot let the bowlers bowl at one particular spot. We have also to look at ways how to play better against spin if the pitches are turning. Someone will have to bat out of skin to take the team away from opposition and stich big partnerships. That is something we will look at."
(With PTI inputs)