Former India cricketer Ashish Nehra lauded Shikhar Dhawan-led Indian cricket team for their performance in the first T20I of the three-match series against Sri Lanka at Colombo as the Men in Blue handed a 38-run loss to the hosts.
Despite losing few early wickets, the partnership between in-from batsman Suryakumar Yadav (50) along with skipper Dhawan (46) managed to pull it back and took India to a total of 164/5 in their quota of 20 overs.
“There are plenty of positives but the biggest positive for me is Suryakumar Yadav and the way he played these two innings. He couldn't convert the starts into a big innings but when you talk about X-factor, skill, no doubt, Suryakumar Yadav has it in the middle order,” Nehra told Cricbuzz.
“We have seen that for Mumbai Indians, he has opened, played at No. 3 and 4 as well. Here he played a bit lower in the batting order but if you look at his fours, singles... the confidence he has shown is worth praising. That is a big plus,” he added.
The former India cricketer then talked about how Yadav who represents Mumbai Indians in the IPL would have been picked in the playing XI even if Shreyas Iyer who is an experienced campaigner was in the squad.
“There is no such thing that he is a must-must. He is already in T20I and ODI teams. Even if Shreyas Iyer would have been in the team, even then he (Suryakumar) must have gotten a chance. In T20Is for India though, it is no longer the scenario that you have the same 4-5 good batsmen,” the 42-year-old said.
He further opined, "If after them, you ask me to name a batsman, I would out Suryakumar Yadav there. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya... he is no less than them. He is right up with those guys. Whenever he has been given a chance, he has always adapted even if he isn't habitual of batting at that position."
After a 38-run win over Sri Lanka in the first T20 International, Team India will be back out in the field on Tuesday (27 July) in the second T20I of the three-match series.
(With Cricbuzz Inputs)