"Don’t know why he doesn’t get picked for india after scoring runs heavily in domestic cricket"
Harbhajan Singh tweeted after Suryakumar Yadav hit a 31-ball 81 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Suryakumar Yadav shot to fame at the Kolkata-based franchise in the Indian T20 League when he walked in as a finisher and showcased his 360° game. His reputation rose as he walked into the Mumbai-based franchise and owned the 2018 and 2019 seasons where he made 512 and 424 runs respectively opening the batting or playing in the top four.
His strike rate was above 130 in both seasons and it seemed like Suryakumar's time had finally come. Yet, what he needed was a stellar domestic season to break the selection doors down. He played just 8 matches - out of which he batted in just four innings - in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season and scored 226 runs at an average of 113 and a ripping strike rate of 154.79.
He is following that up in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Tournament with 392 runs - third best - in 11 matches at an average of 56 and a strike rate of 168.97 - within top 10 strike rates in the tournament.
At 29, Yadav has played 149 T20s and averages 31.37 with a strike rate nearly touching 140. His List A record has him averaging 36.1 while striking at an impressive rate of 98.97.
His recent form had made him a mainstream name in discussions surrounding national team selection. Though he wasn't considered for the T20I side for the upcoming series against West Indies, when Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out, India chose to go with Sanju Samson.
Samson was dropped from the T20I side without getting a game against Bangladesh and it had created a huge ruckus on social media. Samson's inclusion was probably a fair call considering how he was dropped without getting a game against Bangladesh. But a closer look shows that Samson's selection in the first place itself is questionable considering Yadav was available.
Samson, in 146 T20s, has an average of 27.5 and a strike rate of 126.59. His List A record is even more questionable with an average of 30.82 in 88 games. Samson's inclusion is more on the back of his record-breaking double century in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
But the fact remains that it is his solitary hundred in List A matches. Contrary to that, Yadav has not just recent form, but also consistency over a period of time. His ability to rip apart teams with his strike rate of his makes Yadav a perfect fit in the middle-order in T20Is. But unfortunately, he has to wait his turn further with the selectors ignoring numbers for recency bias.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/ Sajjad Hussain