Even with a glowing resume of his own across global events and the T20 domestic, Shane Watson believes the skill of Suryakumar Yadav is reaching levels only a select few have reached before.
Racing past 1000 runs in T20 international cricket in 2022, and joining Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan as the only players to cross four figures in a calendar year, it's hard not to play on his nickname and claim that the sky is the limit. The No.1 ranked batter on the MRF Tyres ICC Men's T20I rankings, the right-hander has struck his runs at a strike rate of 186.54 since January 1. Perhaps the term "ground-breaking" is just as appropriate.
Watching on in awe like everyone else, Shane Watson heaped praise on the man trusted at No.4 in India's batting order, struggling to come up with anyone who could emulate his consistent success.
“It really is a treat to be able to watch SKY bat over the last two years watching him in the IPL and performing as well as he has.
“But then to be able to turn it on like he has in international cricket as well is something to behold. What he's able to do in these foreign conditions in Australia alone is something that not many people have ever been able to do in T20 cricket.
Yadav himself revealed on a recent episode of The ICC Review that he tries not to focus on the bowler's reputation, but instead to play each ball on its individual merit.
The 33-year-old may have downplayed his talents, with Watson again questioning just how Yadav configures himself to play around the ground in a 360-degree fashion.
“It's a really rare talent where his ability to really read a bowler, where he's going to bowl and where the fielders are, and his control over where the ball goes, it’s a very rare talent. We haven't really seen it much before.”
And then, there is the level of consistency. Yadav has made three fifties at the tournament, with 15 his lowest score in a successful campaign to date.
“To be able to do it so consistently, to be able to do it in one or two games, that can happen. But to be able to do it so consistently in the big games? He is a special talent and it doesn't look like anything's going to change," Watson continued.
"It looks like he's going to be out to continue to do this for a long time. It just looks low-risk, even though what he does is high risk."
India meet England at Adelaide in the second semi-final, with a spot at the MCG potentially in front of 100,000 fans up for grabs.
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