“Yes, they are [right in comparing Suryakumar with me]. The only thing he will have to concentrate on is his consistency,” de Villiers told PTI. “He will have to do this for five to ten years and then he will find himself in the golden books of cricket players.
“Any player that gets into form… I think of quite a few guys who really start playing at the peak of their powers, that makes me very excited. Each sportsman for that matter, it’s beautiful to watch when they are really free and having fun out there. Great to watch Surya play the way he is playing now.”
After Suryakumar’s innings, which lifted India to 186 for 5, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar called him the “new Mr 360-degree”.
“There was that one shot that he hit for a six just to the left of the wicketkeeper,” Gavaskar told India Today. “Then he went a little squarer in the final overs, for example, taking advantage of the angle that the bowler was trying to aim at. Then also played the lofted extra-cover drive, he has got every shot in the book. There was a straight drive as well.”
Speaking to Star Sports after the Zimbabwe game, Suryakumar, though, downplayed the comparison with de Villiers. “I feel there is only one 360-degree player in the world [AB de Villiers],” he said. “I just try to play the way I can.
“I try to stay as still as possible so that I can hit the ball to the areas I want to. I bat the same way in the nets, but there I put more pressure on myself so that I have less pressure in the match.”
Suryakumar said that he doesn’t try to muscle the ball and instead looks to use the crease and manipulate the field.
“When I am batting, my plan is very clear,” he said. “I just check what the field is, and I don’t try to play powerful shots. I just try to play the field, play good shots and find a boundary. If I time it well and it goes for a six, that’s good for the team. But I just try to play the field and only play the shots I have. I don’t try to do anything different.
“I keep guessing what is going on in the bowler’s mind, if he has already bowled one bouncer in the over, what the field is like. Some of the shots are obviously predetermined but for certain shots, I try to keep my body still, [especially] if I want to time the ball well and hit a big six. So that’s the improvisation I try, that I stay still, but otherwise I try to move as much as possible in the crease to upset the bowler’s line and length.”
“Surya scores 360 degrees around the ground, a bit like an AB de Villiers did when he was in his actual prime,” Ponting had said. “The lap shots, the late cuts, you know, the ramps over the keeper’s head. He can hit down the ground.
“He hits really well over the leg side, flicks to deep backward square particularly well, and he’s a good player of fast bowling and is a good player of spin bowling.”