Rinku Singh has been included in the ODI team for the South Africa tour. (AFP photo)
The Indian team has reached Durban. Practice will also start on the field in the next few hours and after that the real action. The first T20 match is to be played in Durban on 10 December. 3 T20, 3 ODI and 2 Test matches are to be played in this tour. It rarely happens that the selectors announce all three teams at once. But this time it has happened. It is also interesting that the teams of the three formats are quite different and so are the captains of all three. The command of T20 is in the hands of Surya. This responsibility was given to KL Rahul in ODI and to Rohit Sharma in Test. There are only three players who are part of the T20, ODI and Test teams. These players are Rituraj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer and Mukesh Kumar.
It is also interesting to know that among these three players, perhaps Shreyas is the only one who may get a chance in the playing-11 of all three formats. Otherwise Rituraj Gaikwad and Mukesh Kumar will not get a chance in the playing-11 of the Test team. Although there are many players who have got opportunities in two formats. But the player for whom this opportunity is like a double-edged sword is Rinku Singh. Rinku has got a place in the T20 and ODI team. No one has any doubt about his ability in T20 but the selectors are not in a hurry to give him a chance in ODI.
Why are two formats a double-edged sword?
Rinku Singh would definitely want that now he should be given a chance in ODI format. The selectors have also fulfilled this wish of his. The question is arising whether it would have been better if Rinku Singh had strengthened his legs a little more in the T20 format. Would have understood the pressure of international cricket a little more. He would have learned a little more to handle the stardom that he has received in the last few months. It should not be forgotten that Rinku Singh is still only 26 years old. It should also not be forgotten that Rinku Singh currently has the experience of only 10 international T20 matches in his account. The most impressive in these 10 matches is his strike rate. Which is 187.50. This strike rate is what separates him from other players.
In T20 format, every batsman whose strike rate is above 150 is considered to be ‘impact’. Impact means that batsman whose runs have an impact on the outcome of the match. Rinku Singh is far ahead of 150. But this is only the need of T20 format. Coming to ODI, strike rate as well as average becomes very important. Strike rate alone does not work in ODI format. There is no doubt that this can be a big opportunity for Rinku Singh but for this he will have to show tremendous maturity.
The picture will be clear with the example of Suryakumar Yadav.
The example of Suryakumar Yadav is amazing to understand the danger that we are talking about facing Rinku Singh. Suryakumar Yadav started his International T20 career against England in March 2021. He did not get a chance to bat in the first match. After this, he scored 57 runs in the next match. In the next match he scored 32 runs. After this, he also scored a half-century in the fourth T20 match of his career against Sri Lanka. Then he was also selected in the ODI team against Sri Lanka. He also made a good start in the ODI format. But then he got stuck. He started facing problems in ODI format. In many matches it became difficult for him to touch double figures.
Meanwhile, in a series against Australia, he could not even open his account in three consecutive matches. You also remember the 2023 World Cup. Every player gave his ‘best’ performance for Team India in the entire tournament. But Suryakumar Yadav looked dull in the entire tournament. He scored 49 runs in a match against England. Which was his best score in the entire World Cup. Even in the finals, there were a lot of expectations from Surya, but he failed. It is a different matter that when he returned to his T20 format just 3 days after the defeat in the World Cup final, he played a brilliant inning of 80 runs. This is the difference in format. Without understanding the difference, no batsman in the world can achieve the same status in different formats.
There is a need to show restraint, not panic.
The story of Test cricket is different compared to T20 and ODI. It will take time for Rinku Singh to step into Test cricket. But he should capitalize on the opportunity he gets in ODIs. For this, first of all they have to understand the need of ODI format. It will also be interesting to see what responsibility is given to him in the ODI format. What kind of play is expected from them? The game of T20 goes very fast whereas in ODI, both the batsman and the bowler have to go to the field with more than one plan. In ODI you have to craft your innings. The example of Suryakumar Yadav is very suitable for Rinku Singh. Just like a case study. If Rinku Singh can ‘crack’ what mistakes Suryakumar Yadav has made in the ODI format, then the path will become easier for him.