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‘Indian Cricket is in Good Hands’: Matthew Hayden Lauds Young Shubman Gill and Tilak Varma

Shubman Gill and Tilak Varma (AFP Images)

Shubman Gill and Tilak Varma (AFP Images)

Matthew Hayden talked highly of the duo and backed them to perform well in the upcoming Asia Cup 2023.

Legendary Australia batter Matthew Hayden heaped praise on young players Shubman Gill and Tilak Varma and said that Indian cricket is in good hands with players like them. Shubman and Tilak have been picked in India’s squad for the upcoming Asia Cup 2023 which puts them in fray for the upcoming ODI World Cup.

Shubman started a year on a terrific note as he smashed a double century in ODIs against New Zealand in January, he followed up the same form in IPL 2023 and scored 890 runs to win the Orange Cap. However, post-IPL he had a lean patch during the tour to West Indies, where he hit just two fifties in 10 matches across three formats.

On the other hand, Varma made a big impact on his debut series against West Indies where he ended up as the leading run-getter for India in the five-match T20I series. The southpaw received his maiden ODI call-up after his impressive show in the Caribbean.

Hayden talked highly of the duo and backed them to perform well in the upcoming Asia Cup 2023.

“(It) is this extreme talent, especially within the batting sense, that brings India to life. Gill hasn’t played a lot of one-day cricket for his country yet. Tilak Varma hasn’t played a game of one-day cricket for his country. But that doesn’t mean they’re not able to deliver.

“And this is what we’ve seen in the IPL. We’ve seen names which otherwise you’d have absolutely zero idea of, come to the IPL, not an international stage but certainly an international event, and set it alight. So, I feel very confident in the fact that Indian cricket is in good hands,” Hayden told media here on the sidelines of the CEAT Cricket Rating Award.

Hayden pointed out the strong character of India’s middle order to underline his point.

“When you look at India’s middle-order, you look at Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma… those 3-4 players, and Rohit Sharma described it best. He said ‘you can look at anyone at those numbers but ultimately it’s not one of them that wins you the World Cup,” said Hayden.

Hayden said that India made a good decision by fast-tracking Varma’s inclusion in both T20I and ODI set-ups.

“In the lead up to World Cups, you’re always going to have some players and we’ve seen the class of Tilak Varma. I think it’s a good strategy in terms of not just this World Cup but even potentially getting into the next World Cup (T20 World Cup 2024) as well,” he said.

Hayden said the presence of Varma in the squad will put pressure on Suryakumar Yadav, who has had a hard time auditioning for the No 4 position in ODIs.

“The great thing about Team India is that it has got a really solid 1-2-3 combination, similar to Australia. When you look at their last four or five months, they’ve had a really strong engine room,” he said.

“They’ve got some good problems to solve through the middle-order. If they can fill spots with talented young players like Tilak Varma, it can put pressure on someone like Suryakumar Yadav — I think that’s a good strategy; keep everyone honest in the side and performing, so not a bad move,” Hayden explained.

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