India right-hander and newly crowned No.1 T20I batter in the world Suryakumar Yadav has revealed the secrets behind his recent transformation from domestic obscurity to international star.
Yadav capped off a tremendous period of dominance on Wednesday when he overtook Pakistan opener Mohammad Rizwan and became just the second India player to hold the No.1 spot on the MRF Tyres ICC Men's Player Rankings for T20I batters.
The 32-year-old's rise to the top comes less than 20 months since he made his international debut, with the dynamic batter having already amassed a resume that most players would be happy with from an entire career.
Yadav has one T20I century and an impressive 11 half-centuries to his name, but it's the batting strike rate in excess of 177 and an ability to score in all parts of the ground and be a 360-degree player that stands out.
Just moments after finding out he was the new No.1 T20I batter in the world, Yadav was asked about his remarkable rise to the top and what had helped him reach the rankings pinnacle.
"The freedom from the (India) management is a big boost for any player because the number at which I bat there is a lot of pressure when you go into bat.
"I feel the way they have handled me and given me a green signal to express fearlessly and I enjoy what I do wherever I am in the side, even if I get out.
"Out of 10 times, if I am succeeding seven times why not take a positive route?"
Taking the positive route is an excellent thought process to have while batting in the shortest format and one that Yadav may have thought he would never get the chance to show after years of toil at domestic level in India.
Yadav scored an eye-catching 73 for Mumbai on his Ranji Trophy debut way back in 2010 and had compiled almost 100 first-class appearances in domestic cricket in India prior to finally getting his chance on the international stage.
That opportunity came against England in Ahmedabad in March last year and now Yadav is one of the first players picked by India coach Rahul Dravid.
Yadav said a lot of hard work had gone into him reaching the No.1 spot on the T20I batter rankings and he knows he must continue to evolve he wants to maintain his place there.
"I am really happy with it (No.1 ranking) and it has been hard work all the way," he said.
"Reaching (No.1) was very difficult, but I think staying here will be more difficult.
"It will be a challenge, but I will try my best."
Yadav's current and most pressing task is trying to help India to a second T20 World Cup title in Australia and the Asian side needs to defeat Zimbabwe at the MCG on Sunday to make sure they qualify for the semi-finals.
The India No.4 maintains he won't change his approach too much in the clash against the African nation and he will continue to try and take the momentum away from the opposition's bowlers.
"What I have learnt about my game and what I have learnt about T20 cricket is after seven overs and until 15 overs the other teams try and control the game,” Yadav said.
"That is the phase where I try and challenge myself and take the game on.
"I bat with a healthy strike rate and bat with a good run rate so my team and the batters coming in later on to finish the game have an easier job for them.”
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