‘He’s an India Player in Near Future’: Ravi Shastri Picks the ‘Standout Player’ of IPL 2023
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 has so far seen some rollicking performances from uncapped Indian youngsters. Last week, the fans saw a blazing knock from Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batter Rinku Singh that stunned the defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT). Similarly, Punjab Kings’ Harpreet Singh smashed a 28-ball 41 while a magnificent cameo by wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma left the Mumbai Indians (MI) bowler aghast on Saturday at Wankhede.
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Another young blood in the fray is MI’s Tilak Verma. Though he couldn’t contribute to the team’s chase against Punjab, he has impressed one and all with his strokeplay.
Though the five-time champions lost the battle in a high-scoring thriller, MI’s Tilak Varma continued his purple patch. He has already scored 217 runs in six matches and possesses a strike rate of over 155. In fact, last year, when MI were reeling at the bottom half of the table, Tilka was garnering praise for his eventful knocks. He ended up the season as the top-scorer of the side with 397 runs in 14 games. Prior to the IPL 2023, he had a great domestic as well.
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All these factors seem to have pleased former India head coach Ravi Shastri. Speaking with ESPN Cricinfo, he said Tilak will soon be banging on the selectors’ door.
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“The standout player is Tilak Varma. I said in the second or third game of the commentary that he’s an India player in near future. He will be banging that door down. He’s got that all-round ability, not just to finish off at the end, but the clarity of thought as well. When he comes out to bat, what impresses me the most is his first 10 balls, he’s not afraid to take his chances and back his strength,” Shastri told ESPNCricinfo.
The cricketer-turned-commentator further underlined that Tilak ‘plays the ball’ and ‘not the bowler’, no matter how reputed he is.
“Rohit said a very good line at presentation in this one game. He said Tilak doesn’t play the bowler, he plays the ball. He’s not worried about the reputation, in the sense that he’s not overawed. He plays what’s on offer, irrespective of the name, which is there for everyone to see. He’s got a wide range of shots, the temperament, he looked very good last year, but he’s looking better this year. You watch for players who improve,” Shastri added.
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