There are those in Mumbai's cricket circles who are dumbfounded that Suryakumar Yadav hasn't played for India. The same people will then answer the question, saying he usually gets himself out after looking a million dollars.
At Mumbai Indians though, as a young batsman who is keeping Yuvraj Singh out, every chance is vital. Not even Kieron Pollard, an integral part of the franchise since 2010, has been spared because of their ruthless selection policies. There is no room for sentiment there.
But, in a way, it is this hard-nosed approach that may have helped Suryakumar discover his batting groove.
"I've seen Surya in close quarters... He uses the pace well; you saw the shots behind the wicket. Those were not easy shots on a spinning wicket and he uses it well" Rohit Sharma
He has featured in each of the 15 games this season, and up until Tuesday, had just one half-century, even though his overall tally of 409 runs is second-best in the side. There have been murmurs through the season about how, at times, he holds one end up, leaving Hardik Pandya and Pollard with fewer deliveries. And as much as analysts or observers from the outside have lamented that, the team management has wholeheartedly backed him.
Two weeks ago in Jaipur, Suryakumar said a one-on-one chat with Mahela Jayawardene about what the team management expects of him put things into perspective. The message was: bat deep, don't fritter starts and maintain a steady tempo. It's these very characteristics he brought to the fore as he scripted a composed 71 not out to help Mumbai seal a berth in Sunday's final.
As he walked out to bat at the fall of Rohit Sharma's wicket in the first over, there may have been considerable pressure. On a surface where the ball was stopping, the prospect of facing three quality spinners will have been daunting. But Suryakumar expertly negated the threat. He took his time early on, saw off Harbhajan Singh's first over and then pounced on the pacers, knowing well that he had to pick runs when there was pace on the ball.
His first boundary to third man came off the edge, but he didn't do much wrong beside that. Against spin, he played close to the body, with soft hands, and met a fair share of deliveries with a solid forward stride. And as he began meeting those deliveries before they could pitch and turn, his confidence grew and he was soon on autopilot.
He twirled his wrists to dispatch Imran Tahir through midwicket, then brought out his own version of a helicopter to whip a full ball to the right of wide long-on.
It wasn't a was a flawless innings - he was put down by M Vijay on 7 at mid-on - but he put his head down to steer the chase, giving Chennai Super Kings no respite, even as MS Dhoni at one stage attacked the batsmen with three close-in fielders to Ravindra Jadeja.
Of course, that's where the left-handed Ishan Kishan came in handy. After an ugly hoick that flew over Shane Watson at slip, he opened his shoulders to bring out the slog sweep, getting well outside the line and meeting the ball on the full to pick crucial boundaries.
Sometimes on such tracks, there could be a tendency for batsmen to shut out all their shots in trying to give respect to the opposition spinners. But every time CSK erred, both Suryakumar and Kishan thumped them, adding 80 runs in just 11.2 overs. It was a proper schooling.
"When you restrict a team like that to less than 140, it feels very good but everything has to fall in place and it did perfectly" Rohit Sharma
After the game, Rohit was effusive in his praise for Suryakumar. "He's probably one of our best batsmen against the spinners," he said. "We knew the spin threat that CSK possess will be a huge factor. Taking Surya in consideration, he plays spin really well. I've seen Surya in close quarters, playing for Mumbai and also for Mumbai Indians last year. He uses the pace well; you saw the shots behind the wicket. Those were not easy shots on a spinning wicket and he uses it well. So, we always knew that he's going to come good at some stage. This was the perfect pitch for him to come good."
That Suryakumar had the freedom to play himself in was down to Mumbai's superb use of their spin resources. They left out their third seamer and they usually prefer saving Jasprit Bumrah for the death, which meant, they had to open with Krunal Pandya. And that, it turned out, was just fine considering Super Kings lost their top three inside the first six.
The scalp of the in-form Suresh Raina was most crucial. And it was picked up by a man playing only his second game of the season. Jayant Yadav was picked in the XI almost specifically for this match-up. That was his one job. Everything else was a bonus.
"It was the call that we had to make, knowing that they have quite a bit of right-handers in their squad," Rohit said. "But, Jayant is a quality bowler and a finger spinner [I thought] would have been more effective on that pitch than a wristspinner. I thought Jayant, with his height and the way he bowlers, could extract a lot of spin from this pitch and also bounce."
This has been a strange season for Jayant. He's seen young Rahul Chahar beat him for a place in the XI all through the group stage and suddenly here he was, bowling at one of the IPL's top run-getters, and taking him out with lovely use of flight.
"We knew we had to get their top order out," Rohit said. "Suresh, [Shane] Watson and [Faf] du Plessis - those three [wickets] were quite important and we knew MS [Dhoni] was going to be crucial at the end. We had plans as a bowling unit and we were very clear in what we wanted to execute. When you restrict a team like that to less than 140, it feels very good but everything has to fall in place and it did perfectly."