New Delhi– Former India head coach Ravi Shastri wants the national set-up to bring in-form young players in the side’s next T20I assignment, while adding that they need to move on from veteran players Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
Several young batters like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh and Jitesh Sharma have put in consistently big performances in IPL 2023. “First T20 series that comes up, play these guys (the youngsters), expose these guys. They (the selectors) should start blooding them right now.”
“Players like Rohit, Virat Kohli, they are proven, you know what they are all about. I would go in that (good performers in the IPL) direction so that they get the opportunities, they get the exposure, whilst you keep the Virats and the Rohits fresh for one-day cricket and Test cricket.
“Your focus there with that kind of experience should move to Test cricket, red-ball cricket for the future World Test Championship, and they stay fresh (so that) there is not too much of cricket where there is an overkill,” Shastri was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
With the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup still far away, Shastri also believes the criteria for India squad selection should be only “current form”, while adding that India should focus on a good mix of left-hand and right-hand batters for specific roles.
“One year is a long time. Players can be in form; the form can disappear. You will pick the best guys at the time, and then, of course, the experience will count, fitness will count. Who is hot at the moment, who is consistent, who has got the runs and where he has got the runs.”
“It should be the right man for the right job. It shouldn’t be a guy who bats at three or four for his franchise, and suddenly you make him bat at six or open the innings when it comes to picking a team for India.”
“I would like the mix of left-hand-right-hand batting combination. Just like you look for a left-armer with the ball, I would like to see left-handers there. You see this IPL, teams that have done well, look at the mix that they have,” he added.
Talking about the position of wicketkeeper-batter, Shastri thinks number six or seven will be ideal. India currently have Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson, with Rishabh Pant out of action due to recovery from injuries suffered in a car accident last year. Moreover, Jitesh also comes into the mix on the back of strong finishing skills for Punjab Kings.
“If there are other good openers, you might want a wicketkeeper who bats at six or seven. Yet, if your opening is a bit weak, you might want to look for a keeper who might open the batting. That number becomes very important and what are your reserves, what are your strengths… Therein you fit in the bloke. It applies everywhere in that team,” he added.
Shastri signed off by saying Hardik Pandya, who has captained India in T20Is after the semi-final exit in 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup, can get right people at right positions, citing him doing the same in leading Gujarat Titans in the IPL.
“Oh, you will get that right with Hardik. He’ll get that right where he will want his six bowlers including himself and players for the right numbers. Just seeing the way he has captained Gujarat Titans, you can see there is a player for a number and there is a role which he will take forward to the Indian team.” (IANS)