Dubai, Jan 16 (UiTV/IANS) – Former India cricketer Robin Uthappa believes that Suryakumar Yadav will be an X-factor for hosts India in the upcoming 2023 ICC ODI World Cup, adding that he is so happy for the stylish batter, who continues to achieve tremendous success in the white ball cricket.
The 32-year-old Suryakumar has been in sensational form and recently smashed his third T20I century during the series against Sri Lanka at Rajkot. However, despite his red hot form, he could find a place in the India’s side for the first two ODIs against the island nation before he became the part of the third game.
“In the upcoming World Cup, everyone can be an X-factor but I think right now at the top of my list is Surya Kumar Yadav. Although, he didn’t play much in the ODI series against Sri Lanka,” Robin, who is representing Dubai Capitals at the ILT20, told IANS in an interview.
“I definitely feel like players, who are getting regular chances will be feeling the pressure to actually keep performing because if they don’t perform, they can’t keep Surya out for a long time,” he added.
The 37-year old Uthappa feels Surya is currently batting on a different level.He also highlighted the certain skill of the batter, which makes him special.
“Surya is a multi-utility player, a very good timer of the ball and a sheer match-winner. He has been batting on a different level at the moment and is the only batter in that zone right home. As a team-mate, who has played with him in the past, I feel very happy for Surya because he has done a lot of hard work to reach this stage of his career,” he said.
Asked about who should keep wickets for India in the ODIs, Robin said that KL Rahul should continue the role.
“KL Rahul has been doing really well at No 5 in ODIs with bat and even keeping wickets well despite not being a full-time keeper. So, I feel the team might back KL and when it comes to decide one it will be between Shubhman Gill and Ishan Kishan,” the former India cricketer said.
Talking about the prospects of future captain, Robin said that India have many potential leadership options, going forward.
“See, there are lots of potential captaincy options for India. After Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya is definitely ahead in the pecking order but going forward may be Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant can lead the side well,” he said.
Uthappa also mentioned about the team team atmosphere at Dubai Capitals, which have players like Joe Root, Rovman Powell, Sikandar Raza and others, is fantastic
“The atmosphere within the team has been fantastic. The boys really got on well, I think we have got a great bunch of boys, a lot of them very highly experienced, real stalwarts in someone like Joe Root. So, the boys get along with each other, in fact they make the effort to get along with each other, which is very important,” he concluded.
We should be equally hard on Rohit Sharma: Gautam Gambhir
Though India managed to beat Sri Lanka by a record margin of 317 runs in the third ODI at Thiruvananthapuram to sweep the series 3-0, the inability of captain Rohit Sharma to convert solid starts into big centuries came to the fore yet again.
On a slow yet placid pitch at the Greenfield International Stadium, Kohli was off the blocks quickly, and anchored the innings for a large part to be unbeaten on 166 not out off 110 balls, his tenth hundred against Sri Lanka.
In his third century in last four ODI innings, Kohli hit 13 fours and eight sixes, feasting on a hapless bowling attack. He also shared 131-run partnership with Shubman Gill, who was stylish in his 116 off 97 balls, hitting 14 fours and two sixes, and propel India to a mammoth 390/5.
But Rohit, who shared a nice 95-run opening partnership with Gill, couldn’t progress beyond 42 off 49 balls despite playing shots which looked exquisite to the eye. It also meant that Rohit has not hit a century in last 50 international innings, last of which came when he hit 127 against England in the second innings of the fourth Test at the Oval.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir feels people need to be hard on Rohit not scoring centuries in the same space where Virat Kohli was, during his lean patch which happened a couple of months ago.
“I think we should talk to him in the same space like we used to when Virat didn’t get a 100 in last three and a half years. So we should be equally hard on Rohit Sharma because 50 innings in international cricket is quite a lot,” he was quoted as saying by Star Sports.
In the three ODIs against Sri Lanka, Rohit made scores of 83, 17 and 42. His last ODI century was when he slammed 119 against Australia at Bengaluru in January 2020. Gambhir added that Rohit has to get his century-making ability back, something which Kohli has rediscovered.
“It’s not you didn’t get a 100 in one or two series, and that is one thing that is missing in Rohit’s game from the last World Cup. He used to get those big 100s, this time he’s looking in good form, he’s hitting the ball well but he has to convert.”
“One thing that has stood out for Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, and Virat has got it back, Rohit Sharma need to get it back at least before the World Cup because these two guys will be extremely important if India has to go all the way and win the World Cup,” he added.
The next assignment for India in their home season is three ODIs against New Zealand, starting from Wednesday in Hyderabad.