Will back Suryakumar, says head coach Dravid

With series on the line, head coach backs India’s No. 4 to come good in the 50-over format
Indian batter Suryakumar Yadav during a practice session at the Chepauk stadium in Chennai. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)
Indian batter Suryakumar Yadav during a practice session at the Chepauk stadium in Chennai. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

CHENNAI:  A cracker of a contest is on the cards when India and Australia lock horns in the deciding ODI to be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Wednesday.

With the series level, pressure will be on the hosts as they will be down on morale after the humiliating defeat in the second ODI. One of the main reasons for the defeat was the fact that the top order failed to deliver. But coach Rahul Dravid was optimistic about a turnaround.

India's head coach Rahul Dravid with Suryakumar
Yadav. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

“Yeah, I think the last couple of wickets... Mumbai was a bit challenging, in terms of the wicket, the last wicket (Vizag) wasn’t a 117-run wicket no doubt about that. But the batting unit has done well in the last year. In the 6-7 games before that, we put up some big scores in one-day cricket. Not too much of a concern. Think of the odd times these things can happen. Mitchell Starc bowled really well. Credit to him as well the way he has bowled with the new ball. We need to find a way to get through that spell and ensure that we don’t lose too many wickets upfront,” said Dravid.

India had three spinners in their last game. And the wicket at Chepauk for the decider is a flat brown strip that is hard and dry. It should aid spin as the match progresses. So will there be changes in the spin combo?

"Let’s see. We won’t announce our playing XI right now. Yeah, we will have a look at the wicket. Looks like a pretty good wicket to be very honest with you. Obviously gives us that option, depth is there in our side. The depth is there in our side. We do have three fast bowling options. We could play both as well. We played Shardul (Thakur) in Mumbai and in the past, at No 8, he is an extra seam bowling option. It is just a question of us weighing, what we think is more important against which opposition and how we want to set up our team for the World Cup in October-November," he explained.

Nathan Ellis, the Aussie quick, too agreed that the wicket will take turn. “Obviously, it is going to spin here. For me, the slower balls might come into play. I think it will be a matter of assessing the wicket if we are bowling first. We get a bit more information for the batters who will come out in the second innings and vice versa for batting first, relaying the message back on what the wicket is doing and adapting as the game sort of progresses. It has not been a high-scoring series so far, so we will have to adapt to the wicket and what is presented to us on the day,” said Ellis.

The hottest topic among the commentators is the form of Suryakumar Yadav. Yadav has not converted his T20 potential into the ODIs. ‘’Not really concerned about Surya, got two first-ballers, two very good balls. One of the things about Surya is that he is learning the 50-overs game. T20 is slightly different. In T20, he has played 10 years of IPL. He has played a lot of T20 cricket, he has played a lot of high-pressure T20 games. Even though he has played a lot of T20 cricket, I think he has not played a lot of one-day cricket. We need to give him some time and be patient with it. We certainly see the upside of him doing well.’’ 

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