India’s Middle Order Takes Spotlight Ahead of Asia Cup 2023
The Indian cricket team is fine-tuning their preparations for the 2023 Asia Cup. As with the lead-up to most major One Day Internationals (ODIs) tournaments, there’s keen attention on the team’s middle-order lineup. With Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul poised to return after significant injury breaks, Suryakumar Yadav yet to leave a mark in ODIs, newcomer Tilak Varma’s maiden ODI call-up, and Ishan Kishan’s untested middle-order potential, the selectors face tough decisions. If both Iyer and Rahul are deemed fit, they’re likely to be automatic selections. However, an absence would surely intensify selection dilemmas.
The primary concern revolves around Suryakumar Yadav, or ‘Surya’, who, despite his top-tier performances in T20 cricket, has yet to replicate that success in the 50-over format. In 24 innings, the star T20 batsman averages a modest 24.33, with only two scores surpassing fifty. Nevertheless, Captain Rohit Sharma and Head Coach Rahul Dravid maintain their faith in Surya, largely based on his T20 exploits.
Addressing his ODI performance on Star Sports’ ‘Follow the Blues’, Surya candidly expressed the challenges he faces in the 50-over format. “While my T20 form has been commendable, the 50-over format has been elusive. The intricacy lies in integrating the elements from all three cricket formats,” he shared. Surya explained the progression of an ODI inning, comparing the initial phase to Test cricket, the middle to ODIs, and the ending to a T20-style play.
Revealing his efforts to acclimatize, Surya mentioned his interactions with cricketing luminaries like Rohit Sharma, Rahul Dravid, and Virat Kohli. The cricketer is keen to extend his T20 success to ODIs, emphasizing the importance of adjusting to the game situation. “I’m constantly practicing and engaging in conversations about my game. My aim is to retain my innate playing intent while adapting to different match scenarios,” he added.
India’s first face-off in the Asia Cup 2023 will be against their eternal rivals, Pakistan, on Saturday, September 2, in Kandy. This encounter will not only be a testament to the team’s preparedness but might also provide a platform for players like Surya to ‘crack the code’ of the ODI format.