"He plays the field so well and his wrists and hand speed is so quick that he is able to make a last minute adjustment, a last second adjustment to make sure that he can get the ball into a gap"Glenn Maxwell
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Not averse to playing a few unorthodox shots himself, Maxwell said that the consistency with which Suryakumar has been able to hit some of his most audacious shots was "ridiculous", and much else.
"Suryakumar Yadav is doing it in such a bizarre, ungainly way where he's hitting the middle of the bat by just like stepping across, deciding to sweep somebody who's bowling 145 (kph) from off the wicket on the other side," Maxwell said on The Grade Cricketer Podcast. "And then just putting his head down walking down chewing some gum, glove tap, bat tap, sort of a bit of a swagger and off he goes again and does it again."
Suryakumar, the No. 1 batter in the ICC T20I player rankings, most recently hit 111 not out in 51 balls to give India a big win over New Zealand in Mount Maunganui. The extent of his domination, and the damage he caused, could be gauged from the numbers the rest of the India batting unit put up: 69 runs in 69 balls. Virat Kohli called it a "video game innings", while Suryakumar himself admitted to being amazed at some of the strokes he hit.
Calling the innings "extraordinary", Maxwell, who is recuperating after breaking his leg in a "freak accident", said that it sometimes got frustrating for him to watch Suryakumar bat as he was "so much better than everyone else".
"I saw the [Mount Maunganui T20I] scorecard from the first innings. I screenshot it and sent it straight to Finchy [Aaron Finch] and I said, 'What is going on here?' This bloke is batting on a different planet. I said, 'Look at everyone else's scores and look at this bloke that's 111 off 50! What is going on?'." Maxwell said. "So, the next day, I watched the full replay on [an app] and watched the whole innings. It is just extraordinary.
"He's playing some of the most ridiculous shots I've ever seen and he's doing it stupidly consistently. It's just actually a bit hard to watch because it just makes everyone else look so much worse for not being able to do that."
Suryakumar has been in exceptional form in T20Is in 2022. He is the highest run-getter with 1164 runs in 31 games this year, averaging 46.56 and striking at 187.43. He also had a terrific T20 World Cup, where he notched up 239 runs in six innings at a strike rate of 189.68, often giving India the impetus at the end.
And a lot of it has come from finding different angles on the field and doing it consistently.
"He plays the field so well and his wrists and hand speed is so quick that he is able to make a last minute adjustment, a last second adjustment to make sure that he can get the ball into a gap," Maxwell said. "The way he plays spin, the way he hits it over cover, he reverses really well, he sweeps strong, and he is still able to hit the ball strong down the ground. To have that ability to hit the ball around the ground but so powerfully all over the place. He's just so good."