India dominated West Indies in the Test series and after a brief stutter, they completed a 2-1 series win over the hosts in the ODI series as well. The action now shifts to the T20I series and a young Indian squad will be in focus. The selectors have picked Yashasvi Jaiswal and Tilak Varma after both left-handers had a superb IPL.
While Jaiswal gave a great account of himself in the Test series by cracking a ton on his debut, the time could be right to give Tilak Varma the nod to start the T20I series. The likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will not be a part of the T20 side and Hardik Pandya will lead the team.
Here we take a look at three reasons why Tilak Varma must debut for India in the first T20I vs West Indies:
#3 Utilizing form
Tilak Varma has been consistent in the IPL. During this year’s edition, Varma showcased his explosive batting skills as he racked up 343 runs with a remarkable strike rate of 164.
Among Indian batters who scored a minimum of 300 runs this season, only Suryakumar Yadav and Ajinkya Rahane boasted a higher strike rate than Varma. It is worth noting that the young batter had a stellar debut IPL season in 2022, where he managed to pile up 397 runs.
He looked at ease against pace and spin and this is what the Indian management should tap into and give him the cap when he is in form.
#2 Can be used as a floater
In Hardik Pandya and Shubman Gill, India have two ‘anchors’ who can adapt and adjust the game as per the game situation. In Tilak Varma, they have another possible batter who has shown to have the skills to tweak his game as per the conditions.
He can be used as an enforcer if the early platform is set as he can take the attack to the bowlers from ball one. He can also be used to absorb pressure if India do lose wickets in the powerplay. He averages 56 in List A cricket and this is a testament to his controlled game.
This trait can come in handy and he has already shown signs of being prudent and extremely calculative while playing for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.
#1 Attack from ball one
In the last ODI, Sanju Samson walked out and took down the West Indies spinners from ball one. This changed the complexion of the match and put India on course for a mammoth total.
This is the approach that even Varma is adept at. He showed excellent temperament in the IPL and it drew accolades from Rohit Sharma and Mahela Jayawardene.
Hardik Pandya too backs players to trust their own game and this could be the stage for Varma to translate his IPL form to international cricket. The T20I side is undergoing a transition and with the next World Cup being a year away, this is the time to blood young players and Tilak Varma can lead this change.