Ravichandran Ashwin recently stated that he expects injured Indian batters Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul to be fit in time for the upcoming 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup.
However, he suggested that India have tried Sanju Samson and Axar Patel in the middle-order to make sure that they have backups ready if Iyer or Rahul fail to regain full fitness ahead of the showpiece event.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Ashwin explained:
“Both (KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer) of them are coming out of injuries. I think they will return during the Asia Cup only. But who is the backup for either of them? If one of them is unable to return before the World Cup, and that’s why they have tried out Sanju Samson. They also tried Axar Patel at No. 4. I think they are keeping different strategies for T20 and ODI formats.”
Ashwin opined that Tilak Varma could very well emerge as one of the backup options, considering his impactful performances in the ongoing T20I series against West Indies. He added:
“Will they see him (Tilak Varma) as an option in the 50-over format? But he has made everyone take notice of him with that knock. We can’t really say that he is in the scheme of things when it comes to the 50-over World Cup. But he is almost there in the contingency plan. Because any selector or anyone who would have seen that knock would have gone, ‘Woah!’.”
Notably, Varma played a scintillating 39-run knock off 22 balls on his T20I debut. He followed it up with a wonderful half-century, scoring 51 runs in the recently concluded second T20I against West Indies.
“The emergence of Tilka Varma has made everyone take notice of him” – Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin seemed mightily impressed by Tilak Varma’s exploits against West Indies. He pointed out how the left-handed batter plays the pull shot with aplomb, just like Rohit Sharma.
The 36-year-old spinner suggested that Varma plays the shot like an Australian batter. Speaking about the talented youngster, Ashwin added:
“The emergence of Tilka Varma has made everyone take notice of him. He looked in imperious touch even on that slow pitch in the first T20I. His batting style looked very unlike for an Indian making his international debut. His game resembles a lot of Rohit Sharma. He sweats on the pull. Generally, Indian batters won’t set up to play the pull shot. They will find the answer later as they will have all the other shots. Pull shot is something they will develop. But his game looks like has a natural pull shot and sends the ball outside the boundary rope like an Australian.”