The best batter on show in the T20 World Cup, Suryakumar Yadav, may call the growing comparisons with AB de Villiers pre-mature but the original ‘Mr 360 degree’ South African finds them quite fair.
Surya has set the World Cup on fire with 225 runs from five games, including three fifties at a staggering strike rate of 193.97.
He has left the experts and fans in awe with his incredible range of strokes. The 32-year-old, who is a late entrant to international cricket, has made batting look ridiculously look easy even in the toughest of conditions, like India experienced against South Africa in Perth.
Amid constant talk of his ABD-like playing style, Surya recently said there can only be one ‘Mr 360’, but de Villiers himself begged to differ.
“I am very happy for Surya. I think he has come a very long way. I never saw this happening, the way he is playing.
“He was very conservative and stuck to his game plans at the start but he is now laying the platform and foundation and then starting to dominate the bowlers. It is fantastic to see that and he has a bright future ahead of him,” de Villiers told PTI from Mumbai, where he launched the Last Man Stands-backed India Super League.
When asked if it is the right time to compare Surya with him, de Villiers, one of the most versatile batters in the game, said: “Yes they are. The only thing he will have to concentrate on is his consistency. He will have to do this for 5 to 10 years and then he will find himself in the golden books of cricket players.” De Villiers left the cricketing word in awe while playing some outrageous strokes all around the park. But has he been bowled over by Surya’s play? “Any player that gets into form... I think of quite a few guys that really start playing at the peak of their powers, that makes me very exciting. Each sportsman for that matter....
“It is beautiful to watch when they are really free and having fun out there. Great to watch Surya play the way he is playing now,” said the 38-year-old who retired from all forms of cricket in 2021.
‘Four best teams in T20 World Cup semis but more games needed’
India, England, New Zealand and Pakistan have reached the World Cup semifinals in Australia. The tournament has seen a lot of upsets, making it one of the most unpredictable ICC events in recent times.
Twelve teams including four from the preliminary qualifying round formed the Super 12 stage with sides divided into two groups of six. Teams played five games in the league stage and that number is not enough for de Villiers.
“I feel the top four teams in the world are in the semifinals of the World Cup. I do feel there should be more games. There are not enough games.
“If you have 10 teams, you play nine games and you get the top four and then you have the IPL playoff-like system where one plays two, three plays four and if one or two loses they play the winner of three and four.
“That to me is a fair system. 99 percent of the times you will get the best team win the tournament,” he stated.
On his future, de Villiers said that he has no long-term plans.
“I have not decided anything yet. Taking it easy this year and we will see what happens in the future.”