Suryakumar Yadav wants Indian team to play ‘fearless cricket’ versus South Africa

Suryakumar Yadav said he was heartened by Indian cricket team’s performance in the recently-concluded five-match T20I series against Australia, which they sealed 4-1. The series came just days after India heartbreaking defeat at home to the same opponents (albeit in a different format) in the final of the Cricket World Cup.

While the Australia series saw both teams missing many big names in the side, the series against South Africa will be a real test of their skills, particularly given the challenging conditions on offer.

“The World Cup defeat was a disappointment, and it is tough to move on from it. But the series win against Australia was a big boost even though it came in a different format,” Suryakumar told journalists a day before the first T20I encounter against South Africa.

Going into the final of the World Cup at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium against Australia as the firm favourites, having lost no matches in the group stages or the knockouts, India lost to Australia by six wickets in what was a bruising defeat. But they bounced back with a 4-1 win over Australia in the T20 format.

“The players put their hands up against Australia and came up with fearless cricket, and we need to play the same against South Africa. I just told them (players) to do exactly what they do in franchise cricket,” he said.

Festive offer

Suryakumar is captaining the side in the absence of injured Hardik Pandya for the three-match T20I series.

“I am enjoying it (captaincy). It is all about keeping the players together and this is a fine group of players,” he said.

The series will be very important for India, particularly the T20 series, considering the T20 World Cup coming in June.

Ahead of the first game, he preferred to keep his cards close to his chest regarding team combinations.

“We have the combination in mind. We know who are going to open tomorrow, and perhaps, will take a final call after the practice session today. Yes, we have enough sixth bowler options in this side to bank upon,” he said.