Off The Field

‘He was a 19 year old kid not getting games’: Ponting’s first impressions of Suryakumar Yadav

Written by Vishwas Gupta

With Suryakumar Yadav included in Team India’s roster for the upcoming T20 World Cup, it will mark a huge rise in his stardom since making his international debut in 2021. The batter caught the attention of fans after Mumbai Indians bought him in the 2018 auction and the way he set the 2020 and 2021 seasons of the IPL on fire, which later paved the way for a maiden India call-up. However, former Australia cricketer Ricky Ponting feels that Suryakumar’s ‘career started to turn around’ when he was picked to play for Kolkata Knight Riders.

Ponting recalled spotting a young Suryakumar Yadav when he was at MI back in 2013-14. Suryakumar, then only a teenager, had to wait as the MI line-up was a star-studded one. In 2014, he made the jump to KKR and scored 608 runs from 54 matches across four seasons. Even though he returned to MI in 2018 and amassed 512 and 424 runs respectively during the next couple of years, it was his stint at KKR that Ponting believes Suryakumar really noticed what he was capable of.

“When I was in Mumbai, he was an 18-19 year old kid, a young man. He was in our squad not quite getting a game. The year after I left, he was traded to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) where his career started to turn around. He got a bit of an opportunity in the middle order and then MI bought him back in the auction and has been a match-winning player for them for five or six seasons now, to the point that he is one of their retained players”, Ponting told ICC.

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Vishwas Gupta