IND vs PAK: India will have to fit in a left-hander in Tilak Varma, says Sanjay Manjrekar ahead of Asia Cup
Sanjay Manjrekar, a former batsman for India, said that India will need to put Tilak Varma in their starting XI for their 2023 Asia Cup game against Pakistan on September 2.
Manjrekar told ESPNcricinfo that he would choose KL as his team. Rahul is the wicket-keeper when he picks his starting XI to play Pakistan.
Rahul was picked to be part of India's 17-person team for the Asia Cup after he got over an injury to his thigh. But the top selector, Ajit Agarkar, said that Rahul has a small injury and might not be ready to start the first game of the tournament.
"Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Mohammed Shami would be my three seam bowlers. I would pick Hardik Pandya as my fourth bowler. Jadeja and Kuldeep would spin for me. Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma would bat first for me.
Virat Kohli would come up to bat third. Manjrekar said, "KL Rahul would play because he is the keeper."
He went on to say that India's batting order has a lot of right-handed batters, so they should put Tilak Varma in the middle order as a left-handed choice.
Tilak made his T20I start against the West Indies. He was the highest-scoring Indian in the five-match T20I series, with 173 runs, including his first T20I half-century.
"In the middle order, either Shreyas Iyer or Tilak Varma could play. I say this because the first seven hitters in India's first-choice side XI, including Hardik Pandya, are all right-handed. India will have to find a place for Tilak Varma, who throws with his left hand. India has this problem," Manjrekar said.
India’s Asia Cup 2023 squad
Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (VC), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna.