Melbourne, Legendary India batter Sunil Gavaskar hailed the excellent batsmanship showed by middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav in the Men's T20 World Cup, saying that he is the one who is propelling the side to totals which they can defend well.
On Sunday, Suryakumar enthralled 82,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in a death overs batting masterclass of 25-ball 61 not out. He set the base for a 71-run thrashing of Zimbabwe to set up a semi-final showdown with England at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
"He is actually turning out to be the player who is taking India to totals which you can defend. The score India got was the highest T20I score at the MCG. Without his 61 not out, India would not have reached even 150. Each of those innings was pretty much 360 degrees," said Gavaskar on India Today after the match ended.
With 225 runs in five innings at an average of 75, Suryakumar is now the third highest run-getter in the tournament, behind team-mate and table-topper Virat Kohli (246 runs) and Netherlands' Max O'Dowd.
"He is the new Mr. 360 degree. There was that one shot that he hit for a six just to the left of the wicketkeeper. Then he went a little squarer in the final overs, for example, taking advantage of the angle that the bowler was trying to aim at. Then also the lofted extra cover drive, he has got every shot in the book. There was a straight drive as well," added Gavaskar.
Speaking to reporters in the Sydney Cricket Ground, former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson admitted to being left in awe of how Suryakumar has brought fireworks in the tournament till now, calling him a very rare talent in the cricketing world.
"It really is a treat to be able to watch Sky bat. Over the last two years, watching him in the IPL and performing as well as he has, but then to be able to turn it on like he has in international cricket as well, it's something to be in awe of.
"What he is able to do in these foreign conditions in Australia alone is something not many people would have ever been able to do in T20 cricket. He's a really rare talent where his ability to really read a bowler, where he is going to bowl and where the fielders are and his control over where the ball goes, he's a very rare talent."
During his blazing knock in Sunday's match, Suryakumar also became the first Indian and only the second player in the world after Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan to score 1,000 T20I runs or more in a calendar year. Watson signed off by hoping Suryakumar's consistency continues for long.
"We haven't seen much of it before and to be able to do it so consistently, like in one or two games that can happen, but to be able to do it so consistently, in the big games, he's a special talent. Gosh, it doesn't look like anything is going to change. It looks like he is going to continue with this for a long time. It looks low risk even though what he does is pretty high risk."