Ravi Shastri reveals uncapped IPL players he wants in India's 2023 World Cup mix
New Delhi, India: India great Ravi Shastri has revealed the young batters that have impressed him during the ongoing IPL that could make a late run at being part of this year's ICC Men's Cricket World Cup.
While India already boasts a number of strong top-order performers in the ilk of skipper Rohit Sharma, former captain Virat Kohli and the emerging Shubman Gill, Shastri believes the next crop of young batters is ready to take the next step and could replicate their form at the 50-over showcase should injuries arise to key players.
Young left-hander Yashasvi Jaiswal has been a standout so far at the IPL with a total of 575 runs for the Rajasthan Royals with a century and four fifties, while fellow southpaw Rinku Singh (407 runs in 13 matches, with three fifties and an average above 50) is another to have caught Shastri's eye following his final over heroics for the Kolkata Knight Riders against Gujarat Titans early in the tournament.
Shastri believes both Jaiswal and Rinku are more than capable of making the transition to international cricket in the future and was quick to nominate the pair as standout performers to host Sanjana Ganesan when speaking on the latest episode of The ICC Review.
"One is (Yashasvi) Jaiswal, simply because of the way he has played this season. And for me, it is a marked improvement from what I saw from him last year, which is a very, very positive sign. It shows that there is a young guy prepared to work on his game, sort out things, get a more all-round game into play and he has done that this season. Just the power with which he is re-taking shots. Just the pockets he is hitting around the ground as opposed to last year are very good," said Shastri as quoted by ICC.
"The other bloke is Rinku Singh, which is a great story. The more I see of him, that guy has got a fabulous temperament. He is tough as nails. Both of these guys have come through very hard backgrounds. They have worked very hard initially in their lives and nothing has come easy for them. So you can see that hunger, that passion, that drive that is so needed to make it to the top," added the former Indian all-rounder.
But it's not just this pair that has stood out at the IPL for Shastri, with the India legend and respected commentator also liking the look of a host of other young players that are yet to earn an international cap for their country.
Shastri believes India's bowling attack is well set ahead of this year's World Cup, but thinks there are a group of young batters around the mark that could easily sneak into the final squad with continued good form prior to the tournament.
"As far as batting goes, there's Tilak Varma (274 runs in nine matches at an average of 45.66 with a fifty), there's Jitesh Sharma (265 runs at an average of 22.08 and a strike rate of over 155) from Punjab (Kings) too who is a wicket-keeper-batter who's pretty dangerous and has stood out," Shastri noted.
"There's even Sai Sudarshan (223 runs in six matches at an average of 44.60 with two fifties), a left-hander (who has also caught the eye). But I would put Tilak Varma, I would put Jaiswal, I would put Rinku Singh. (They) are the candidates who can really push through along with Ruturaj Gaikwad, who has been around for a while."
"These are the guys who can push for selection, depending on their form closer to the World Cup. And depending on injuries. If there are injuries to any key players, then these guys can come straight away into the mix," concluded Shastri.