Suryakumar beastly sky higher than Rohit. It’s no secret that Suryakumar Yadav is a beast in T20Is, but SKY could very well be on his way to establishing himself as the ultimate T20 GOAT.

What took Rohit Sharma 79 innings and Glenn Maxwell 92, Suryakumar Yadav achieved in just 57 innings. Thursday night’s magical 100 was the Mumbaikar’s fourth Twenty20 International hundred as he tied his designated Indian captain and the Australia maverick for the most hundreds in that format. If anyone had any doubts – impossible, really – why ‘SKY’ is ranked the No. 1 T20I batter in the world, those were emphatically answered at the Bullring that the Wanderers in Johannesburg is.

Suryakumar is just two years and nine months old as an international cricketer – he was 30 when he made his T20I debut in March 2021 – but from the time he whipped Jofra Archer over long-leg for his first scoring stroke at the top level, he has been on a mission to make up for lost time. Within days, he had established himself as the new-age T20 master, a remarkable achievement given that he bats in the middle order, much like Maxwell.

Such is the nature of the 20-over game that it’s the top three that usually run away with the batting accolades. They are the ones who enjoy the privilege of batting when the Powerplay is on and only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle for the first six overs. They have the advantage of theoretically playing the most number of deliveries, an advantage Rohit has made the most of in a career most spectacular.

Suryakumar beastly sky
Suryakumar beastly sky

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Suryakumar’s Stellar T20 Stats Surpass Rohit’s (Suryakumar beastly sky higher than Rohit):

Rohit averages 31.32 and strikes at 139.24 runs per 100 deliveries faced, exceptional numbers when one considers that his career has encompassed 148 matches and 140 innings. A combined average-strike rate figure, a realistic indication of a batter’s consistency and his ability to score rapidly, of 170.56 is a testament to the older Mumbaikar’s impact on and understanding of the T20 game. But then you look at Suryakumar’s stats, and even Rohit pales in comparison.

After 57 knocks, SKY averages 45.55, and his strike rate is a golden 171.55 (in case one missed it, his strike rate alone is higher than Rohit’s consolidated number) for a cumulative score of 217.10. Maxwell’s corresponding tally is 182.63 (average 29.54, strike rate 153.09). Just for fun, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers, for long considered the gold standards in T20Is, aggregate combined tallies of 165.42 and 161.28 respectively. Where is Suryakumar in comparison? Head and shoulders above the best of the rest. Head and shoulders, mind.

What is it that makes Suryakumar such a beast in the T20 format even whilst he struggles, still, to come to grips with 50-over batting at the international level? Confidence and belief, of course. A stunningly enviable repertoire of strokes, needless to say. The ability to see the ball just a fraction early – which shouldn’t desert him in other versions, should it? – and react accordingly, with little to no premeditation.

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Suryakumar’s versatile play elevates India’s hopes.

A slightly open stance and the bat half-raised – but not quite high like a baseball striker – are allies as he makes that slight back-and-across shuffle which allows him to access both sides of the pitch, and both ‘V’s – the traditional one between mid-off and mid-on, and the inverted other that spans third-man and fine-leg. Because he doesn’t commit to a specific stroke before the ball is delivered, he is seldom out of position. He is a powerful striker of the ball, as someone with the second-most T20I sixes (after Rohit) must be, but he isn’t just brute force. A deft touch and delectable wristwork are as much in evidence as unapologetic ball-bashing, which allows him to translate a modest 21 off 20 deliveries to 100 off 55, as he did at the Bullring.

Entrusted with the responsibility of leading the T20I team in the absence of Rohit (rested) and Hardik Pandya (injured), Suryakumar has slipped effortlessly into the role, steadfastly refusing to allow it to cloud his thinking as a batter. In his first outing as T20I skipper last month, he was the Player of the Match against Australia; in his second series in that role, he grabbed the Player of the Series honors following the 1-1 stalemate against the Proteas. Six months on, India will be hoping he comes away with the Player of the Tournament award and helps them to T20 World Cup glory. Don’t bet against it; after all, as several quote-twisting banners reminded us in Johannesburg, SKY has no limit.

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