India's Asia Cup 2023 Squad: Tilak Could Be Surprise Pick After Brilliant Show In IND vs WI Series
Tilak Varma has delighted fans and analysts alike with his performance in the first three T20Is. Tilak struck 39 off 22 balls in the first match, when none of the Indian hitters clicked.
In the second match, he was once again Team India's finest batter, earning his maiden T20I fifty.
He backed it up with another magnificent innings, finishing unbeaten on 49 off 37 balls. He could easily have scored his second consecutive fifty if Hardik Pandya had decided to give him strike back.
Former India chief selector MSK Prasad is a big fan of Tilak and wants him in the team for the ICC Men's ODI World Cup in 2023. Not to mention, Team India captain Rohit Sharma hailed Tilak Varma for his outstanding performance in the T20Is against the West Indies.
Everyone has been impressed by the maturity with which he has batted in his debut series. That is why former cricketers and fans are calling for his inclusion in the India squad.
Prasad believes that India should keep Shreyas Iyer at No. 4. Tilak, on the other hand, could be the correct decision if Shreyas is not fit by the time the World Cup squad is chosen. "First and foremost, we need to establish whether Shreyas Iyer is physically fit.
So, if Shreyas Iyer is ruled out, one player who fits the bill in the current circumstance is Tilak Varma, because of his versatility, ability to play fast bowling and spin bowling, and ability to alter gears as and when required. Above all, we don't have a left-hander at the top of the order.
So all of this will absolutely work in Tilak Varma's favour," Prasad was quoted as saying by India Today.
What are Tilak Varma's chances of playing ODI World Cup?
There would be no possibility of a young player who just made an outstanding debut making the World Cup choice if India had a solid playing XI right now. That, however, is not the case. India has a number of issues, particularly in the middle order, with KL Rahul and Iyer both racing against the clock to be fit for the World Cup. Tilak has certainly demonstrated tremendous patience when batting at that important position, even if just in T20s.
His selection (or lack thereof) will be determined on Iyer's availability in the Asia Cup. KL Rahu's ideal replacement will not be Tilak, but rather a wicketkeeper and hitter capable of batting at no. 5.
So, if Iyer is unable to heal in time for the Asia Cup, Tilak can fill in. He will be supported by Virat Kohli at No. 3 and KL Rahul (if fit) and Hardik Pandya in the batting order. If Tilak maintains his form, attitude, and maturity in the Asia Cup, he could play in the World Cup as well.