Suryakumar openly acknowledges this aspect, stating that he has “no shame in accepting that.”
Following his dominant innings of 83 runs from 44 deliveries in the third T20 International, which contributed to India’s seven-wicket victory over the West Indies and maintained their chances in the five-match series, Suryakumar displayed a candid attitude toward his less impressive performance in the 50-over format.
“My ODI numbers are very poor and there is no shame in accepting that. Being honest is very important because everyone knows that, because we all talk about honesty.
“So it is very important to stay honest about your performance. But what is more important is how to improve that,” Suryakumar said at the post-match press conference.
Captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid have advised him to play this format more.
“Rohit and Rahul sir have told me that this is the format that I don’t play much so you have to play it more and think about it.
“If you are batting in the last 10-15 overs, think what you can do for the team. All we want from you is to play 45-50 ball if you are getting to bat in the 15-18 overs, play your own game. It’s in my hand now how to change the responsibility into an opportunity,” he said.
In the ODI series against the Windies, he could not make his presence felt, managing scores of 19, 24 and 35 in the three matches.
So far, he has played 26 ODIs and scored 511 runs at an average of 24.33, a far cry from his T20I average of 45.6.
In 2023, Suryakumar played 10 ODIs and scored an average of just 14 runs.
“We have played a lot of T20Is, so it has become a habit. We play T20 regularly, and all we need to do is express ourselves. But we do not play a lot of one-dayers, and ODI is the most challenging format.
“This is because you have to bat as per the situation. For example, if wickets fall early, then you need to spend time in the middle (play like Test cricket), then in the middle play run a ball and then towards the end approach it like a T20 game.
“Now what the team management has told me about that format, I am just trying to apply that in ODIs. Take some time, do as per the team’s requirement and play my game towards the end. I will just look to live up to the expectations of the team management and repay their faith.
“But the T20 format you are talking about, we play it regularly, we know the situation, we just have to go out and express ourselves.”
Before the ODI World Cup, Suryakumar said the team has good number of matches lined up to help them prepare in the best possible way for the showpiece, which India is hosting.
“We have 7-8 games before the ODI World Cup. It’s enough for a team to prepare. We also have a camp before that where all the players will gather. It’s important to spend time together, understand strengths and weaknesses. We will try to win hopefully,” he said.
Reflecting on his knock on Tuesday, he said, “I think I didn’t do anything different, I have been batting the same way in the last two years. Today was also the same day, I just had to go out and express myself the way I have been doing in the last few years. And everything kept falling in place the way I batted.
“I am never thinking about milestones in my mind. Because you have seen my innings, even when I’m batting on 47, or 98, I play as per the team’s requirement and achieve a milestone with a boundary or a six. If it happens, good but I look to play according to the team’s requirement.”
When asked about Tilak Varma, who impressed once again with his unbeaten 49-run knock, Suryakumar said the youngster has shown a lot of maturity for his age and called him a star.
“I feel Tilak Varma, for his age, he is showing amazing maturity. We have played together in the IPL.
“He has done it in the IPL and here too, in that situation and in only his third international game, the kind of maturity he has shown I think all credit goes to him, his hard work. I hope he continues in the same vein, but yes, Tilak Varma is a star.
“I think he is very clear in his mind, most importantly he knows his game very well, what he want to do when he comes on to bat.
“Today also, he was very clear what he wanted to do, and he is mentally very strong, the most important thing you need when you come into the dressing room, when you play at this level that is the most important thing. He has come strong.”
(With inputs from PTI)