Tilak Varma’s selection in India’s Asia Cup squad both smart and brave: Tom Moody
Former Australia all-rounder Tom Moody on Monday described Team India’s decision to pick uncapped Tilak Varma for the upcoming Asia Cup as a “brave” and a “smart” call.
Varma, who got his international career off to a flying start in the recent T20I series against the West Indies but is yet to make an ODI appearance, was included in India’s 17-man squad for the continental showpiece event that gets underway on 30 August, with the Men in Blue beginning their campaign three days later against Pakistan in Kandy.
Besides his recent T20I exploits, Varma has also charted a meteoric rise for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and has become an integral part of the five-time champions as a middle-order batter.
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Varma was included in the squad as the sixth specialised batter alongside skipper Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav.
“I think it’s a wonderful selection. I’ll call it brave, but I also call it in the same breath smart,” Moody told Star Sports.
“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 position is going to be valuable for India, particularly to have that balance against spin.”
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Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar also echoed Moody’s views and credited Varma’s blazing form during the West Indies T20Is earlier this month in the Caribbean and the United States of America for his call-up in the ODI team.
“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. It is hard to find a weakness in him, in white-ball cricket,” he said.
Besides Varma, Moody was also impressed with the overall Indian squad selection for the tournament and felt there was no discrepancy behind the decisions.
“Well firstly, what is looking good is the fitness, the tick that both KL Rahul and Iyer have received. You know both quality players, both really do give that middle order somebody and experience,” Moody said.
There were question marks over the fitness of Rahul and Iyer, who are making a comeback after undergoing thigh and back surgeries respectively. Iyer last played in March and Rahul in May.
“I did enjoy the transparency and the honesty that came through in that press conference. I think communication is really important at times, whether it be in India or any other country for that matter,” he continued.
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Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was a notable omission from the squad, leaving India with only one wrist spinner in Kuldeep Yadav. Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja are the other spin bowling options.
“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 said.
“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.”
With inputs from PTI
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