India wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik has been amazed by how quickly Tilak Varma has adapted to international cricket and believes the youngster must be considered to fill the crucial No.4 spot at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
Varma showed his immense promise when amassing 343 runs for the Mumbai Indians at the IPL earlier this year and further built on those efforts by making an outstanding start to his international career during India’s recent white-ball series against the West Indies.
The 20-year-old appeared in all five T20I matches India contested, scoring 173 runs in his first international series and catching the eye of Karthik with his versatility to adapt the way he plays to the situation of the game.
“I was very impressed with Tilak Varma,” Karthik said during a Cricket World Cup commercial shoot with Emirates.
“I think he showed different sorts of temperament to his batting at times he went all guns blazing up the order, then there was a game where he had to finish it off with Hardik Pandya and he did that as well.
“More important is that he can add off-spin and we have not had somebody who can roll their arm over so that makes that player very special.”
Varma’s form against the West Indies was rewarded with the youngster earning a place in India’s squad for the upcoming Asia Cup, with the left-hander set to battle it out with a host of batters that are sure to be given the chance to perform ahead of the World Cup.
One thing in Verma’s favour is that he is a left-handed batter in a batting line-up made up of predominantly right-handed players and Karthik believes this will play out in his favour.
“Do we need a left hander? Do we look at Tilak Varma or is Suryakumar (Yadav) that option,” Karthik pondered.
“Is it wrong to say he (Suryakumar) is just a right-hander because he plays all the types of sweeps that are available in the game and makes it really hard for the spinners.”
Skipper Rohit Sharma wants his batters to be flexible as to what position they fill in India’s batting order and the inclusion of experienced duo Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul in the Asia Cup squad provides further options for the side to try prior to the World Cup.
Karthik believes Iyer is the front-runner to fill the crucial No.4 position in India’s ODI side at the World Cup, but the fact he is returning from a bad back injury will provide chances to other players.
“I think Shreyas Iyer is the right player given his form and the scores he put together over the last eight months before getting injured,” Karthik said.
“He has probably been the in-form batter at No.4, but with that there is going to be a small issue.
“India is going to be filled with right handers with six out of the top seven (being) right handers and (Ravindra) Jadeja is at No.7, so can Jadeja bat that little bit higher to bring that left-hand, right hand combination that is a big question mark for India.
“Because leading into the World Cup we are going to find pitches that take spin and you are going to need left handers and where does India stand with six right handers in that top seven.”