For last 15 years Indian Premier League is working as a supply line in Indian cricket, especially in the limited overs game. In one area Indian team has suffered in recent years is the one-dimensional nature of their batting line up with mostly right handlers in the team post the retirement of Suresh Raina. One young player who is showing lots of promise in the Indian Premier League and should be part of the Indian middle order soon is Tilak Varma.
How it started
The 2020 Under19 World Cup star Tilak belongs to Hyderabad but came to limelight when during the IPL auction of 2022, Mumbai Indians spent 1.70 Crore to acquire his service. Over the years these were considered as long-term investment on upcoming young players and Under19 stars did not use to get early opportunities. But the southpaw was so impressive with his talent that the management showed huge trust on him by playing him in all 14 matches in the 2022 season. He is already a mainstay of the Mumbai Indians and barring injury one of the first names in the team sheet. This is a credit in itself as Mumbai Indians also have other young talented batters like Dewald Brevis and Tristan Stubbs who hardly get a chance to play.
He already has a strong portfolio for himself with quite a few match-winning innings for Mumbai. He scored a 33-ball 61 against bowlers like Trent BoultRavichandran Ashwin, and Yuzvendra Chahal in just his second match in IPL. Consistency and momentum are key factors in this game and Tilak showed his consistency by scoring 20 plus scores in 11 out of the 14 times he batted and reached fifty twice to finish as the second highest run-scorer in the team behind Ishan Kishan in IPL 2022.
Tilak Varma played domestic cricket for Hyderabad and made his First-Class debut in 2019 when he was barely 17. Till date he has played seven First-Class matches scoring one hundred and 25 List-A matches where he has scored five centuries. In T20 cricket he is nearing the 50-match mark and should complete it in this IPL but currently he is out of the eleven due to injury. It is clear that he is already in consideration for the national team as Tilak was selected to play for India- A against Bangladesh-A and scored 33 in the first unofficial Test in 2022.
How it is going
When it comes to IPL 2023, Tilak Varma started with a bang. His batting has become more matured, and he is in-control of his game while batting. He has already scored 274 runs this season from nine matches with a better average (45.67) and strike rate (158.38) compared to last season and without the unfortunate injury set back could become one of the contenders for the Orange Cap.
With a World Cup coming up in next five months, Indian team management may not look to make many changes in their preferred squad, however a national call-up should not be too far for Tilak Varma. Being a left-hander can be an advantage for him, although there are quite a few left-handers in the fray among young Indian players like Yashasvi Jaiswal and Rinku Singh. On the other hand, TilakVarma needs to be tested in overseas conditions and a tour of Australia or England as part of the India-A set up should help him immensely. However, since his game is built on a solid technique it is expected from him to adjust to those alien conditions and deliver.
His franchise captain Rohit Sharma has already hinted that a national call-up is round the corner for the youngster. Ravi Shastri has commented that he is expecting him to play for India in T20 cricket within next six months and in all probability, Tilak Varma will get his chance sooner than later.