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Indian Premier League 2020

‘Shameful act’ – Virat Kohli criticised after staring contest with Suryakumar Yadav

Kohli Suryakumar
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Mumbai Indians’ Suryakumar Yadav was hailed on social media for calmly diffusing Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli’s aggressive tactics during their IPL 2020 match in Abu Dhabi. The two were seen exchanging long stares.

The incident occurred in the 13th over of the Mumbai chase, with Suryakumar, at No.3, anchoring the team in their pursuit of 166. Suryakumar pushed a delivery to covers, which was fielded by Kohli, who, in a visible attempt to get under the skin of the batsman, walked to the crease right up to Suryakumar. It was unclear if Kohli directed verbal chatter at him.

Suryakumar looked unflustered, staring back at the approaching India captain, and stood his ground, refusing to budge from his batting crease even as Kohli stood right next to him, glancing at the batsman repeatedly while wiping the ball in his hand. Suryakumar stood for a whole 15 seconds before walking away to his non-striker Krunal Pandya, Kohli still staring at him.

Eventually, Suryakumar let his bat do the talking, scoring a fluent 43-ball 79 and guiding the team to the target in the final over. After the winning runs were hit, the cameras panned to Suryakumar, who was seen tapping his chest and pointing at himself, as if to gesture ‘I belong here’, a celebration made popular by footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.

There has been considerable buzz around the performances of the 30-year-old Suryakumar, who is yet to break into the Indian team despite scoring heavily in domestic cricket. In the IPL, he has been one of Mumbai’s most consistent performers three years running now, having already compiled over 300 runs this season; he scored 424 and 512 runs in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

He was one of the names in contention for a spot in India’s T20I team, but missed out on the 16-man squad for the three-T20I series in India’s tour to Australia starting November.

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