The Indian senior team selection committee has decided to give a chance to Tilak Varma at the upcoming Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and Pakistan and it has garnered praise from former India player Sanjay Manjrekar while former Australia all-rounder Tom Moody called it a brave yet smart decision.
The selectors picked Tilak Varma and Suryakumar Yadav along with Shreyas Iyer and K.L Rahul, both of whom are returning from long injury layoffs.
Speaking exclusively to Star Sports, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar backed the call to have Tilak Varma in the squad for Asia Cup.
“Yes, because he is in hot form. Look at his domestic career, he’s got the numbers to merit a call for India. And also, tongue in cheek, he is also getting ready for 50 overs cricket by failing in his last two matches in the T20 format. So he is getting ready for 50-over cricket,” Manjrekar said.
“It is hard to find a weakness in him, in white-ball cricket. And as I’ve mentioned before, let’s have some impact, quality players at number four, five, and six. There’s a tremendous rush for spots number one, two, and three, in Indian cricket, let’s have these number four, five, six batters out there,” the former Mumbai batter said.
Meanwhile, former Australia cricketer Tom Moody express about the talent and variety that Tilak Varma brings to the squad.
“I think it’s a wonderful selection. I’ll call it brave, but I also call it in the same breath smart. He is clearly a player on the rise, as I touched on earlier. He’s got not only skill but an enormous temperament, and he is showing that on a regular basis. We have talked about the value of left-handedness in the top order, so him coming in at that number five or six positions is going to be valuable for India, particularly to have that balance against spin,” Moody told Star Sports in an exclusive interview.
Manjrekar was very impressed with the clarity of the team selection and how there was reason behind every decision.
“The press conference was a very impressive debut by Ajit Agarkar as chairman of selectors. What I liked is both Rohit and Ajit gave a lot of respect to the people asking the questions. There were a lot of open conversations, no one was scared of trying to reveal something they shouldn’t. The answer about KL Rahul was important. A niggle has emerged along with the injury he recovered from, and that’s why they had an extra keeper. Now that kind of detailed sharing of information is what we need, and I hope they remain candid,” he was quoted as saying in a release by the broadcaster.
Manjrekar meanwhile, also felt this was as good as the World Cup squad.
“Nice articulation of all the decisions that have been taken. And when you look at the squad, I think this is the World Cup squad that you’re looking at. Two players will be deleted. There is a chance one of the spinners will be deleted and an extra keeper or maybe a fast bowler. But this is more or less the World Cup squad that we are looking at, barring two players that they would have to leave out.”
Moody spoke on how there is no discrepancy behind the decisions in selecting the Indian squad and said: “Well firstly, what is looking good is the fitness, the tick that both KL Rahul and Iyer have received. That’s been the real talking point over the last few weeks. You know both quality players, both really do give that middle order somebody and experience. I did enjoy the transparency and the honesty that came through in that press conference,” he said.
“I think communication is really important at times, whether it be in India or any other country for that matter. There can’t be that cloak-and-dagger press conference where you have these hidden messages, and then you walk out of a press conference no clearer than what you did when you walked into that press conference. So, I think the clarity in their messaging was really important. I liked the fact that they made it very clear about the wrist spinning decision, why they only went for one wrist spinner and just small points around that,” he added.
Moody also welcomed the call to include K.L Rahul in the team, saying it gives confidence to the player soon after recovering from his injury as Rahul will feel he was in the scheme of things.
“The little niggle that might have emerged with KL Rahul, just small things like that, you can’t help but get behind the new chairman and this team, because you feel like you’re involved, you feel like you are part of the journey now instead of it being you’re unsure of exactly what is happening. So, I think there are obviously a lot of people who follow Indian cricket, more than anyone in the world. So I think the force of Indian cricket will get behind this pair and this team,” Moody said.