Mumbai Indians (MI) player Suryakumar Yadav
Mumbai Indians (MI) player Suryakumar Yadav Image Credit: PTI

Dubai: Suryakumar Yadav, the hero of Mumbai Indians’ Indian Premier League triumph over Chennai Super Kings through an unbeaten 71 on a tough turning wicket, is an embodiment of patience. He displayed his ability to choose the right shots and to tackle spin on a wicket that was gripping.

Yadav is a product of former Indian captain Dilip Vengsarkar’s Elf Academy in Mumbai. It was Vengsarkar, who was known for his ability to play on such tough wicket, that had shaped him into a skilful batsman.

Speaking to Gulf News on Yadav’s talent from Mumbai, Vengsarkar, said: “Yadav should have played Test cricket. He should have played for India long ago.”

On Tuesday night, 28-year-old Yadav also showed how intelligent he is as a batsman and showed to even the experienced batsmen in both the sides on how not to perish on such a wicket.

“Surya (Yadav) has always been an immensely talented batsman. Unfortunately, he didn’t get a look in at the right time as such he lost out on playing Test cricket,” added Vengsarkar.

Yadav hails from a typical middle-class family in Mumbai. He began by playing in the streets of Chembur, a suburb in Mumbai, where he grew up. His father had spotted the talent in 10-year-old Yadav and took him to a cricket camp in Chembur. He was initially encouraged by coach H.S. Kamat before joining Elf Academy. Vengsarkar’s tips boosted his confidence.

It was a hard journey for Yadav all through his career as he found it tough to clinch a place in Mumbai’s top teams due to the presence of superstars in different squads. Though to get a stage to perform wasn’t easy, whenever he got an opportunity, he made full use of it. In 2010-11 season he made his Ranji Trophy debut and in the first match against Delhi, he grabbed the chance to top-score with 73 runs.

Yadav was picked by Mumbai for the 2012 IPL season, but like always, he could not find a slot in the playing XI due to the presence of star players. In 2014, Kolkata Knight Riders picked him and in a game against Mumbai, he hit a match-winning 20-ball 46 runs with five sixes to prove that he is not only a Test cricket type batsman but a fine hitter of the ball too. In 2018, Mumbai, realising his value, got him back into their squad.

Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma always believed that Yadav has the talent to win matches. Sharma, after the match, rightly said: “Surya plays spin very well. I’ve seen him at close quarters. The shots he plays behind the wicket, those are not easy shots. I always knew he was going to come good at some stage.”

Commenting on his knock, which made many ask on Tuesday night as to why he hasn’t played for India, Yadav, said: “It was important from one of the top-three to bat until the end. It was a big game and it needed a bigger performance. After the first innings, I saw what happened. I just wanted to play down the ground and focus on singles and doubles.”

Yadav’s innings is a lesson on how to mould an innings on a tough wicket.