Legendary Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has reserved high praise for a star Indian batter, calling him a “trailblazer” and saying that he could inspire a new breed of cricketers to copy his style and take T20 cricket to another level. The two-time ODI World Cup-winning captain with Australia was in awe of Indian star batter Suryakumar Yadav, who was on fire in the shortest format of the game in 2022 and amassed a total of 1164 runs in 31 matches. For his spectacular show with the bat, the right-handed batter was selected as the ICC Men’s T20I batsman of the year as well.

“I think innovation-wise, skill-wise, I haven’t seen a better player (than Suryakumar) in the game,” Ponting told ICC.

“What it’s going to do as well is that a lot of other players are going to try and do the things he’s doing, and it’s going to add another level of skill to the T20 game all around the world.”

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“Someone said during the IPL this year (2022), there are going to be guys who are going to try and do exactly the same as what Surya’s doing, and that’s going to be great for the game,” Ponting, who is the head coach of the Delhi Capitals, added.

Surya, who sits at the No. 1 position in the T20I batter’s ranking, has continued his good show in 2023 as well, and in the four matches played till date, with the help of one century and one fifty, he has already scored 217 runs, which is the most by any batter.

Ponting called the 32-year-old Surya the greatest innovator in the shortest format and compared his style of batting with that of AB de Villiers and Adam Gilchrist.

“He’s probably doing it better than anyone’s ever done it right now. We talk about players that can score 360 degrees … some of the shots he’s hitting back behind the wicketkeeper and over fine leg are just remarkable.”

“Five or six years ago, he started doing that (innovating) a lot in the IPL. He was very good at flicking the ball over deep-backward square and getting the ball over fine-leg,” Ponting said.

“Surya’s now been able to hit short balls on the way up and flick short balls over the keeper’s head, and they’re going for six, not just for four.”

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