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Ponting: Suryakumar is a bit like AB de Villiers

"He has played better than anybody else in the Indian team for the last couple of series"

PTI
15-Aug-2022
Suryakumar Yadav played a number of innovative shots as always, West Indies vs India, 4th T20I, Lauderhill, August 6, 2022

Suryakumar Yadav plays a number of innovative shots  •  AFP/Getty Images

Suryakumar Yadav has received high praise from the great Ricky Ponting, who compared the Indian batter with AB de Villiers, for possessing a 360-degree game.
Ponting suggested that Suryakumar should bat at No. 4 in the Indian line-up.
"Surya (Yadav) scores 360 degrees around the ground, a bit like an AB de Villiers did when he was in his actual prime. The lap shots, the late cuts, you know, the ramps over the keeper's head. He can hit down the ground," Ponting said on the latest episode of The ICC Review.
"He hits really well over the leg side, flicks to deep backward square particularly well, and he's a good player of fast bowling and is a good player of spin bowling."
Suryakumar, 31, has scored 672 runs at an average of 37.33 and a strike rate of 175.45 in 23 matches and now sits at No.2 in the ICC T20I batting rankings, behind Pakistan captain Babar Azam.
"I think you'd find him in the Indian team for the T20 World Cup, not just their squad. And if he's in that team, then I think all the fans in Australia are going to see a very, very good player," Ponting, who has seen Suryakumar up close in his early years at Mumbai Indians, said.
"He's quite a confident person. He backs himself and he's never going to step down from a challenge or any situation that arises in a game. I feel he thinks he can win that situation and therefore go on and win the game for his team."
Asked whether Suryakumar would make India's best XI, the former Australian captain said he has "played better than anybody else in the Indian team for the last couple of series" and should be slotted at the top order.
"It's got to be in the top four, I think. I said stick with him (Virat Kohli) in his traditional spot, which has been No. 3," Ponting, a two-time ODI World Cup-winning captain, said.
"For Surya, it's one, two or four. I think he can open, but I think he's probably, you know, if you could probably just keep him away from the new ball, let him control the middle part of the game outside the Powerplay, through in the middle, and if he's in at the end, you know what can happen."
Suryakumar's strike rate rises to 258.82 in the death overs in T20Is -- in 34 balls he has smashed 88 runs with 15 of those deliveries going for boundaries.
Ponting said: "I think in the top four is, well, actually I'll go out on a limb: I don't want him to open. I think number four is his best spot."
Australia will host the T20 World Cup in October-November.