Legendary Australia captain Ricky Ponting has called India middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav a trailblazer, who could inspire a new breed of players to emulate his style of play and take T20 cricket to “another level” globally. Suryakumar, 32, was recently named the ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year after he became only the second batter in the world to score 1000-plus runs in a calendar year in the shortest format of the game.
Surya scored two centuries and nine half-tons on the way to amassing 1,164 runs in 2022, only second behind Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan who leads the charts with 1,326 runs in 2021.
“I think innovation-wise, skill-wise, I haven’t seen a better player (than Suryakumar) in the game,” Ponting told ICC on Friday.
“What it’s going to do as well, a lot of other players are going to try and do the things he’s doing and it’s going to add another level of skill to the T20 game all around the world.
“Someone said during the IPL this year (2022), there are going to be guys who are going to try and do exactly the same as what Surya’s doing, and that’s going to be great for the game,” added the Australian great.
Surya’s 1,100-plus runs last year came in 31 T20Is at an astonishing strike rate of 187.43 and an average of 46.56, propelling him to the top of the ICC Men’s T20I Batting Rankings.
Ponting also called the Indian cricketer the greatest innovator in the shortest version, comparing his style of batting with South African white-ball specialist AB de Villiers and former Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist.
“He’s probably doing it better than anyone’s ever done it.
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