It prompted India to look at Suryakumar as a gamechanger in other formats as well. They gave him a Test debut against Australia in Nagpur on a spin-friendly pitch where it looked like, at least before the game, batting long didn’t really look likely. So they chose to keep Shubman Gill – a player equally gifted but more in the traditional mould – out of the side in favour of Suryakumar and his ability to play high-impact innings in a very short space of time.
“It’s very hard to dissect,” he said, “But I think what we’re learning is that he is human. For a period of time there, we were sort of not really coming to terms with what he’s actually doing to the game; he was nearly untouchable. But I think now we’re seeing the polar opposite. Sport does a vicious cycle of exposing the human element of our vulnerability. You can call it form or luck or whatever you like.
“He’s probably doing exactly the same thing as he’s done the last 12 months but he’s just not getting the rub of the green. The thing is that then can turn into a situation where he starts questioning his form, questioning whether he’s doing the right things, he might start to change his technique or batting stances or all sorts of things, the way he is preparing which is what he shouldn’t be doing. That’s why a lot of people say cricket, particularly batting, is 80% mental and 20% skill.”
“The other thing that comes in as well, maybe the hype and the great run he’s had maybe he’s come down a couple of rungs. Hopefully he can get back up there. He’s like Maxwell. The way he thinks about the game is a little bit different and so the fall can be a little bit harder for those sort of players.”
“Everyone around the world knows what Surya can do in white-ball cricket. They [India] should stick with him, I feel,” he told the ICC Review. “Because he is I think the kind of player that can win you a World Cup. He might be a little bit inconsistent but he’s the sort of guy who in big moments can win you something,”