Two days after his name was not included in any of the three India squads that will tour Australia next month, Suryakumar Yadav produced another fine innings for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League 2020. Yadav remained unbeaten on 79 and successfully shepherded MI’s chase of 165 against Royal Challengers Bangalore with five wickets remaining. This was Yadav’s third fifty of the season, with which he took his tally to 362 runs from 12 matches.

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Yadav’s exclusion from India’s squads was met with some amount of criticism, with many former and current players such as Harbhajan Singh, Manoj Tiwary and Dilip Vengsarkar, who questioned the decision behind leaving the batsman out. His stand in captain Kieron Pollard stood by Yadav as he guided MI home – which all but secured them a place in the playoff, saying it must be difficult for Yadav knowing that he has to wait despite performing so well.

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“Deep down inside he must be very, very disappointed to not have donned the blue for India,” Pollard said after the match “He just keeps getting better. Again, as an individual if you keep staying consistent, you will be rewarded. Nothing happens before its time. There is discussion around my batting position, I would love to be up there, taking the runs and hitting the runs, but we have to do what is the best for the team.”

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Yadav has been a consistent performer for MI over the years since returning to the franchise ahead of the 2018 season. In 2018, he scored 512 runs and followed it with another fruitful season in 2019, accumulating 424 runs. He was the most expensive uncapped player in the 2018 IPL auction, brought for a price of Rs 3.2 crore.

Pollard added it was remarkable of Yadav’s part to come in at 52/2 and bat through. “We lost a few wickets but Surya took us home. Imagine someone batting at that strike rate after two early wickets,” he said.

“I am big on match-ups in a way. I also watch a lot of cricket. I took a punt and bowled at AB. I could have waited for the last over but if someone has to go for runs, I thought I’d take it. Bumrah continues to keep standing up throughout the tournament. But again, we have been playing total team cricket. Somebody is always there to pick up the slack.”

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