Former Indian coach Ravi Shastri and selector Sandeep Patil have both voiced their resounding endorsement for the inclusion of 20-year-old batting sensation Tilak Varma in the Indian squad for both Asia Cup and ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. Sourav Ganguly has also backed Tilak as potential No. 4 for India during the mega event starting from October.
Tilak Varma’s debut series against the West Indies showcased his technical finesse and an unwavering temperament fit for the international stage. His impressive performances have not gone unnoticed, as both Shastri and Patil have fervently thrown their support behind the young prodigy’s inclusion in the team.
Sandeep Patil, discussing his selection preferences with Star Sports, declared, “100 per cent [if India should hand a debut to Tilak Varma?] I will go with Tilak Varma and Suryakumar Yadav. Who will be in the playing XI, can be decided after looking at the balance and the opposition. But Tilak Varma and Suryakumar Yadav will both be in my team.”
One of the critical factors influencing this endorsement is the team’s requirement for a left-handed batsman. With the departure of Shikhar Dhawan, India’s top seven currently features only one left-hander in the form of Ravindra Jadeja. Addressing this concern, Ravi Shastri emphasized, “I’m very impressed with Tilak Varma. Very, very impressed. And I want a left-hander. So, if I’m looking for a left-hander in the middle order like Yuvraj Singh and before that was Suresh Raina at five, I would really look in that direction.”
Varma’s impressive showing in the 2023 IPL for Mumbai Indians, coupled with his composed performances on the international stage, has solidified his case for inclusion. In 11 IPL outings, he amassed 343 runs at an average of 42.88 and a strike rate of 164.11, often batting in challenging situations. His ability to handle pressure, adapt to various game situations, and maintain a wide range of shots makes him a promising prospect.
Ravi Shastri’s assessment of Varma extends beyond statistics. He highlighted the young player’s unorthodox approach, shot selection, and the crucial ability to understand and handle game situations effectively. “So I’ll be looking at him very closely because he is hot at the moment, his mindset, his confidence, he understands situations, which is for me the most important thing,” Shastri remarked.
Tilak Varma’s domestic cricket record further reinforces his credentials. In 25 List A games, he has amassed 1236 runs at an impressive average of 56.18, reflecting his consistent form and prowess in the 50-over format.
Sourav Ganguly Backs Tilak Varma as Potential No. 4 for India in ICC World Cup 2023
Former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly has thrown his weight behind emerging talent Tilak Varma as a viable option for India’s No. 4 batting position in the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023. Ganguly’s endorsement of Varma’s inclusion comes as a contingency plan, considering the unavailability of key player Shreyas Iyer due to injury recovery.
While Shreyas Iyer recuperates after undergoing surgery for an injured back, Sourav Ganguly voiced confidence in India’s depth and potential replacements for the crucial No. 4 slot.
“Who said we don’t have a No. 4? We have so many (batsmen) who can bat at that spot. I think differently; my mindset is different. This is a fantastic side,” Ganguly remarked during a Denver event, where he was announced as the ‘Brand Face.’
Expressing his inclination towards Tilak Varma’s candidacy, Ganguly emphasized, “I see Tilak Varma as an option, being a left-hander,” lauding Varma’s adaptability and fearless approach on the cricket field.
Tilak Varma, a 20-year-old left-hander, showcased his mettle on his T20I debut against the West Indies with a commendable 22-ball 39. He followed up this strong start with scores of 51 and an unbeaten 49 in his next two outings.
Ganguly also highlighted the potential of other left-handed talents like Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ishan Kishan, stating that they, along with Varma, have the ability to play fearless cricket. He expressed his hope that the selectors would consider these young players when announcing India’s World Cup squad before the September 5 deadline.
“He (Tilak) is a very good young player, not with much experience, but it does not matter. I also want to see the young left-hander (Jaiswal) in the side at the top of the order. He has enormous ability and he’s fearless. So, this is a great side,” Ganguly affirmed.
Ganguly advocated for a balanced squad comprising both experienced players and fresh talents, emphasizing that the team should consist of individuals unburdened by past setbacks. He acknowledged that the selectors, led by Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma, have an array of choices to craft the best possible XI for the tournament.
The return of pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah from injury also earned Ganguly’s praise. Bumrah’s resurgence adds depth and potency to India’s bowling attack, a crucial factor going into the marquee event. Bumrah, leading India in a three-match T20I series against Ireland, showcased his prowess by bowling consistently at nearly 90 miles per hour.
Reflecting on India’s bowling unit, Ganguly asserted, “With Bumrah, Shami, Siraj, they have a fantastic attack to go with Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav; they have enormous talent. How can that team be unsettled?”