Former Indian batter Wasim Jaffer has batted for young Tilak Varma’s inclusion in the ODI squad. According to Jaffer, with uncertainty over the availability of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, it’s worth giving Varma a go in the 50-over format ahead of the World Cup.
Varma, 20, has made an impressive start to his T20I career. In three matches in the ongoing series in West Indies, he has registered scores of 39, 51, and 49*. He is only the second India batter to score 30-plus in his first three T20I innings.
The youngster has impressed fans and critics with his performance under pressure despite his lack of international experience. Urging the selectors to consider Varma for the one-day format, Jaffer told ESPNcricinfo:
“If at all India need a batter to look at in 50 overs, I won’t be surprised if it’s Tilak Varma. The kind of maturity that he has shown, I’ll be happy to see him coming into the ODI mix also. There are talks that Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul are not ready yet. Why not throw in a youngster like Tilak Varma? He’s shown a lot of maturity and [gives] that left-hander option. We’ve been looking for a top-order left-hander. Why not Tilak Varma?.”
Jaffer agreed that with only a handful of ODI matches left before the World Cup, Varma might not get enough chances to stake his claim. He, however, added that, given the circumstances, the risk is one worth taking.
“We are definitely short on time. You want a guy to play at least 15-20 ODIs. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. We expected Shreyas and KL to be ready for the Asia Cup. We don’t know whether they will be available for Australia ODIs. I’ll probably take a bait on Tilak Varma if at all,” the 45-year-old added.
There have been conflicting reports over the availability of Shreyas and Rahul for the Asia Cup, which will be played from August 30 to September 17.
“In the first three innings, I can’t remember anyone being as consistent” – Jaffer on Varma
While India are 1-2 down in the five-match series in West Indies, Varma has been one of the major positives. Jaffer hailed the youngster for his consistency as well as his game sense and ability to deliver what the team expects of him.
“In the first three innings, I can’t remember anyone being as consistent, as mature or as assured in his strokeplay as Tilak Varma. He’s very young and for him to come out and bat in certain situations, absolute delight to see. He came out with the rain coming in and there were talks that it might go to Duckworth-Lewis.
“He came out and attacked the first 2-3 balls. It goes on to show how tuned in he is with the team’s demand and the game sense that he has got. That is very refreshing to see,” Jaffer explained.
Varma added 87 runs for the third wicket with Suryakumar Yadav (83 off 44) in the third T20I on Tuesday as India registered a seven-wicket triumph in a must-win game.