Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting is confident batter Suryakumar Yadav will be in the India side for the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 in October this year, adding that the 31-year-old is not the one to "step down" from a challenge whatever be the situation.
The Australian great has seen Yadav from close in his early years in Mumbai during the Indian Premier League (IPL), and feels the Indian selectors should include the middle-order batter in the playing XI for the ICC T20 World Cup Down Under.
"He's a very, very exciting player and I'm sure someone that's going to find himself in their team, not just their squad," Ponting said on The ICC Review.
"I think you'd find him in their team for the T20 World Cup. And if he's in that team, then I think all the fans in Australia are going to see a very, very good player. He's quite a confident person. He backs himself and he's never going to step down from a challenge or any situation that arises in a game. I feel he thinks he can win that situation and therefore go on and win the game for his team," Ponting said.
Ponting also added that Yadav should bat at No.4 for India in T20Is and has compared the star cricketer with South Africa great AB de Villiers. Yadav recently opened with Rohit Sharma in the away T20I series against the West Indies and met with huge success, including a match-winning 76 off 44 deliveries which helped the visitors win the third game and go 2-1 up in the five-match series. India eventually won the series 4-1.
After playing 23 matches into his T20I career, Yadav now sits at No.2 in the ICC T20 Batter Rankings, behind Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, and has a strike rate of 175.45 which is the best for any player to bat as many times as he in T20I history.
However, with India's batting line-up having incredible talent, there's no guaranteeing anyone's place in the XI with the T20 World Cup coming up in two months. But Ponting believes there's no reason why Yadav shouldn't be in the side.
Yadav's self-belief shines through every time he walks out to bat. In Nottingham recently, India looked down and out at 31/3 chasing 216 but Yadav struck his maiden T20I hundred, and India were in the game as long as he was out there.
Ponting believes that "self-belief in his own game and his own skill" sets Yadav apart from other rising stars in the game.
"Surya (Yadav) scores 360 degrees around the ground, a bit like an AB de Villiers did when he was in his actual prime. The lap shots, the late cuts, you know, the ramps over the keeper's head. He can hit down the ground," Ponting said.
"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."
Multi-skilled T20 batters are in high demand and his skills make Yadav an enticing option in the XI for India with the tournament in Australia looming large.
Asked whether Yadav would make India's best XI, Ponting said "he played better than anybody else in the Indian team for the last couple of series" and felt he should be slotted into the top order. "It's got to be in the top four, I think. I said stick with him (Virat) in his traditional spot, which has been number three," Ponting said.
"For Surya, it's one, two or four. I think he can open, but I think he's probably, you know, if you could probably just keep him away from the new ball, let him control the middle part of the game outside the Powerplay, through in the middle, and if he's in at the end, you know what can happen."