World No.1 Suryakumar 'happy' to be in Barbados for Afghan test

Suryakumar Yadav made a stolid 50 from 49 balls to guide India to victory over the USA in East Meadow, New York (TIMOTHY A. CLARY)
Suryakumar Yadav made a stolid 50 from 49 balls to guide India to victory over the USA in East Meadow, New York (TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

India batsman Suryakumar Yadav has welcomed the switch from New York to the traditional pitches of Barbados ahead of their opening match in the Super Eight part of the T20 Cricket World Cup against Afghanistan on Thursday.

The Indians, one of the favourites to win the trophy, topped Group A with their three wins over Ireland, Pakistan, USA - their match with Canada in Lauderhill was abandoned - all played on the "spicy" drop-in pitches of the temporary stadium near New York.

The move to Barbados takes the Indians on to the more traditional cricket territory of the West Indies.

"It's not that we weren't happy playing there (New York) but we were playing for the first time," he said at a press conference late on Tuesday.

"So yes, the conditions were different and a little challenging as well.

"But we’ve played here, we know the conditions here, how they react, how they act, so we are very happy to be here. It looks better."

Suryakumar, the world's top-ranked batter in the short white-ball format, has never played in Bridgetown in the T20 format but did play two ODIs against West Indies there last year, making 19 and 24.

He struggled for runs in those group matches in New York making just two against Ireland and seven against Pakistan before a measured 50 not out from 49 balls - some way short of his average T20I strike rate of 168.06 -guided the Indians to a seven-wicket win over USA.

"I have been the world's number one batsman for the past two years so you should know how to bat according to different conditions and how you can change your game to what the team needs at that time," said the 33-year-old.

"If you can play like that, I think it displays good batsmanship. And I try to do that if the wicket is difficult."

"I knew post-power play that finding boundaries was going to be difficult on that ground with the wind, with the slow outfield.

"So, we had a plan in mind after the power play that we'd just try and hit the gap and run hard.

"It was a little difficult track to bat on, yes, but that day the situation was different. We had to be batting till the end, keeping the wickets in hand."

Against Afghanistan, and indeed Bangladesh who they face on Saturday, Suryakumar is sure to come up against more of a spin threat but the Mumbai Indians slugger is more than ready.

"That has always been my strong point," he said. "I mean, if the wicket is slow, the spinner is bowling, or if the wicket is good, that has always been my game."

"We obviously have plans against Afghanistan. We are completely focused and know our own strong points really well.

"We do think about the opposition. But at the same time, at the end of the day, you should know what your strong points are and back it."