'I don't think he was unlucky. India were waiting for Shreyas...': Ponting on Suryakumar's axing after 1st Test
Legendary Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting opened up about Suryakumar Yadav's axing from the Indian playing XI in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia.
Legendary Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting believes India were only waiting for a fit-again Shreyas Iyer to return to the Test side which eventually triggered Suryakumar Yadav's axing from the playing XI in the second and third Test matches of the Border-Gavsakar Trophy. Rewarded for his superlative performances in the limited-overs format, white-ball maverick Suryakumar was added to the Indian Test squad for the four-match series against Australia.
The premier batter made his red-ball debut in the series opener of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after Iyer failed to recover from the back injury ahead of the Nagpur Test. After Suryakumar's forgetful Test debut, a fit-again Iyer then replaced the top-ranked T20I batter in the 2nd Test at Delhi. Middle-order batter Iyer was also preferred over Suryakumar for the 3rd Test that Rohit Sharma’s Team India lost by nine wickets in Indore.
In conversation with sports presenter Sanjana Ganesan on the ICC Review Podcast, Ponting was asked whether Suryakumar was unlucky as the star batter was given just one Test match to showcase his capabilities. “No, I don't think he was unlucky. Yes, he played 1 Test but that was because they (India) were waiting for Shreyas Iyer to come back into full fitness. If you look at what Shreyas has done over the last 12 months in Test match cricket, particularly at home it's been outstanding. So, unlucky for Surya to miss out but it was because a fit Shreyas Iyer had to come back into the middle order so. I have got no doubt that his time will come. Surya, his time will come as far as Test cricket is concerned,” Ponting said.
Suryakumar was cleaned up by veteran Australian spinner Nathan Lyon in his first-ever Test outing for Team India at Nagpur. Suryakumar has played 20 One Day International (ODIs) and 48 T20Is for Team India. Batting legend Ponting also asserted that he doesn't want Suryakumar to just be pigeonholed as a white-ball player in the international arena.
“I certainly haven't pigeonholed him as a white-ball player only. I think the skill is being on display in the white-ball game and I have no doubt that he can transfer that into Test match cricket and probably in different conditions as well. I think he is one of those guys who are skilful enough to be able to play well and adapt in most conditions. If a spot opens up again in that middle-order, then I certainly would not be riding him off,” the former Australian skipper added.