Former India head coach Ravi Shastri feels that it is time for stalwarts Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to concentrate on Tests and ODIs letting young IPL performers like Tilak Verma, Jitesh Sharma and flavour of the season Yashasvi Jaiswal play T20Is.
”Players like Rohit, Virat Kohli, they are proven, you know what they are all about. I would go in that (good performers in the IPL) direction so that they get the opportunities, they get the exposure, whilst you keep the Virats and the Rohits fresh for one-day cricket and Test cricket,” Shastri told ESPN Cricinfo.
”Your focus there with that kind of experience should move to Test cricket, red-ball cricket for the future World Test Championship, and they stay fresh [so that] there is not too much of cricket where there is an overkill,” Shastri advised on how to phase out senior players for shortest format in international cricket.
The likes of Jaiswal, Jitesh, Tilak and Rinku Singh have all done well in the IPL and would be pushing for regular slots under Hardik Pandya’s captaincy.
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”First T20 series that comes up (West Indies), play these guys (the youngsters), expose these guys. They [the selectors] should start blooding them right now.” In fact, Shastri wants their current form to be utilised rather than waiting.
”One year is a long time. Players can be in form, the form can disappear. You will pick the best guys at the time, and then, of course, the experience will count, fitness will count. Who is hot at the moment, who is consistent, who has got the runs and where he has got the runs.” He also doesn’t want a top-order guy for his franchise to be played in middle order for the country, something Rahul Dravid had done with Venkatesh Iyer, post Shastri’s exit.
”It should be the right man for the right job,” Shastri said. ”It shouldn’t be a guy who bats at three or four for his franchise, and suddenly you make him bat at six or open the innings when it comes to picking a team for India.” ”I would like the mix of left-hand-right-hand batting combination. Just like you look for a left-armer with the ball, I would like to see left-handers there. You see this IPL, teams that have done well, look at the mix that they have.” He has full faith in Pandya’s ability to tap right talent.
”Oh, you will get that right with Hardik. He’ll get that right where he will want his six bowlers including himself and players for the right numbers,” Shastri said. ”Just seeing the way he has captained Gujarat Titans, you can see there is a player for a number and there is a role which he will take forward to the Indian team.”