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'Look at his List A records' - Former India chief selector backs youngster's inclusion in ODIs after exploits in T20I series against West Indies

Former India chief selector backed the inclusion of young middle-order batter in ODIs after his exploits against West Indies.

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M. S. K. Prasad

M. S. K. Prasad (Source: Twitter)

Tilka Varma, 20, has made headlines for his sensational performances against West Indies in the ongoing five-match series. While other Indian batters struggled to find runs on a difficult Windies batting pitch, Varma did not show the nervousness of a debutant and played a confident knock in the first three T20Is.

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One of the rising stars of Indian cricket, Varma performed admirably for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL), scoring 300-plus runs in the last two seasons. He continued his form with Team India, scoring 139 runs at an average of 69.50 and a strike rate of 139. The Hyderabad-born cricketer, who started his international career with back-to-back maximums, is currently the top scorer in the series.

Meanwhile, former India chief selector MSK Prasad believes that Varma would be a good addition to India's ODI squad as well, especially if veteran middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer does not recover from injury soon. Prasad made his point by analysing the southpaw's List A records.

“Look at his List A record for Hyderabad. He has played 25 List A games and has an average of 55 plus. Five hundreds and five half-centuries. It means at least 50 per cent times he is converting fifties into hundreds. A strike rate of 100 plus," Prasad said.

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“I think it won’t be a bad idea provided Shreyas (Iyer) can’t make it. Only then you can think of Varma. But I am sure he will be a white ball regular for India across formats going forward,” the former keeper-batter added.

Varma is a left-hander and Team India is lacking left-handers: Ravichandran Ashwin 

Prasad is not the only person to have observed the benefits of Varma's inclusion in India's 50-over squad. Earlier, veteran Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had also shared a similar view that Varma could become a backup option for the ODI World Cup. Ashwin feels that the inclusion of a left-hander in the middle order will benefit India.

“This is neck-and-neck with respect to the World Cup. So, will they think about Tilak Varma as an option if we don’t have enough backups? Because Sanju Samson has performed really well in ODIs. But the exciting part about Tilak Varma is that he is a left-hander and Team India is lacking left-handers. Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) is the only left-handed batter in the top 7.”

India ODI World Cup 2023