ODI World Cup: Shastri-Patil bat for Tilak Varma`s inclusion in middle-order

Former cricketers Ravi Shastri and Sandeep Patil on Friday backed youngster Tilak Varma to be included in India`s middle-order for the upcoming ODI World Cup 2023. The mega event will be held in India from October 5 to November 19.

Shastri said the 20-year-old Varma is at an advantageous position because he is a left-hander. Speaking on Star Sports, Shastri said, “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 (of Varma).

“Sandy (Sandip) and MSK (Prasad) have been selectors, and if I was a selector along with my panel, I would be looking at that current form, looking at how he`s getting his runs.

“So, when I look at the way he has got his runs over the last three months, whether it was for Mumbai Indians, for India, whether it was handling pressure, opposition, or different situations of the game, he has ticked all the boxes for someone so young,” said Shastri.

Varma impressed everyone with his fine performances during his debut international series against the West Indies recently, scoring well in all the three T20I matches.

“When it comes to shot selection, when it comes to the range of shots, the ability to be unorthodox, he (Varma) has everything.

“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,” the former India coach added.

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Shastri`s 1983 World Cup-winning teammate Patil, who turned 67 this day, spoke highly about Varma, also bringing Suryakumar Yadav into the equation.

“100 per cent (India should hand ODI debut to Tilak Varma) I will go with Tilak Varma and Suryakumar Yadav,” Patil said.

“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,” he added.

On Wednesday, Shastri had said he would include three left-handed batters in the top seven to bolster India`s middle-order ahead of the Asia Cup and the subsequent World Cup.

(With agency inputs)

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