"Suryakumar Yadav from Mumbai to watch out for in future!"
That's part of a tweet from Rohit Sharma, circa 2011. Since then, Yadav spent two years with the Mumbai Indians, then five with the Kolkata Knight Riders, and, since 2018, he's back with the Mumbai Indians. Cameos have been aplenty, runs have flowed at different periods of his IPL career, but the one thing that was missing in his game was the ability to finish the matches that he helped set up. Till now.
After hitting an unbeaten match-winning 43-ball 79 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore - that took his team to 16 points after 12 games - Yadav said it was overcoming that deficiency, of not being there till the end in chases, that gave him the most joy in Wednesday's win, and that it was something that had been discussed in the camp before the season began too.
"When we started the tournament, the team management and Rohit came to me and said 'you have played enough cricket now, it's high time now you take the game deep, and bat as long as possible; it provides a good platform for the team and even it will be good for yourself'," Yadav told host broadcaster Star Sports after the match. "So I badly wanted to do it and I'm very happy with that.
"I was looking to finish the game since a long time. And sitting back in the [hotel] room I was thinking how do I do it? So I wanted to learn what my game is exactly, and just go out there and finish the game for the team."
Yadav, who scored 512 and 424 runs in the IPL in 2018 and in 2019 respectively, and is on course for another 400-plus season, however, has not played for India yet. And he did not make either the 16-man ODI squad or the 15-man T20I squad for the upcoming tour of Australia.
Yadav chose not to bring up the topic, but Kieron Pollard, leading the Mumbai Indians in Sharma's injury-enforced absence, wasn't going to ignore the elephant in the room.
"Imagine you have someone who bats at that strike rate, especially when you lose an early wicket because he comes at No. 3. Time and time again, no matter the situation he continues to show the class of a player he is," Pollard said. "Deep down inside, he must be very disappointed not getting to don the blue for India but I'm sure he's very, very close, I'm sure.
"He's done some amazing things for us as a franchise, and the most he can do is continue to let the bat talk and score more runs for us and take us all the way. To me, he just keeps getting better. If he continues to be this consistent then at some point in time, you are going to get rewarded. Nothing happens before its time, and long may it continue for us as a franchise."