How serious India should be in solving its No.4 conundrum? With Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav spearheading the formidable middle-order of the Men In Blue, it’s fair to say that anyone can momentarily make the vacant No.4 his own when the time arises. As former captain Sourav Ganguly rightly put it, anybody can play at the No. 4 position.
Sanctioning the returns of superstars Iyer and Rahul, India finally named its squad for the Asia Cup 2023 on Monday. While gloveman Ishan Kishan is India’s reserve opener, a recovering Rahul is picked as wicketkeeper-batter in the star-studded squad. Besides senior batter Suryakumar, India have boasted its middle order by handing a surprise call-up to rising star Tilak Varma, who is yet to play a One Day International (ODI) game for the Men In Blue.
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Speaking to Star Sports after India furnished its Asia Cup squad, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar welcomed the addition of Tilak to the Indian lineup. Interestingly, Manjrekar also issued a cheeky remark about Tilak’s white-ball credentials. After stamping his authority against the West Indies in his debut series for India, youngster Tilak has struggled to extend his free-scoring run in Ireland.
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‘It is hard to find a weakness in Tilak Varma’
“Yes, because he is in hot form. 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. So he is getting ready for 50-over cricket. It is hard to find a weakness in him, in white ball cricket. And as I’ve mentioned before, let’s have some impact, quality players at number four, five, and six. There’s a tremendous rush for spots number one, two, and three, in Indian cricket, let’s have these number four, five, six batters out there,” Manjrekar said.
Samson vs Tilak
Power-hitter Sanju Samson, who has a healthy average of 55.71, is India’s only travelling reserve for the Asia Cup. Samson has notched up 3 half-centuries for India in 13 ODIs. Samson failed to raise his stocks in India’s white-ball series against the West Indies. Meanwhile, rookie left-hander Tilak made his debut in the Caribbean and the 20-year-old is the only un-capped ODI player for the Asia Cup. Varma, an honourary graduate from Rohit’s Mumbai Indians (MI), has played only 7 T20Is for India. Tilak perished for a golden duck in the series opener against Ireland. He then made 1 off 2 balls in India’s comfortable win over the hosts.