With India Needing 12 Runs, Hardik Pandya’s Pep-talk Charges Up Tilak Varma In 3rd T20I. Watch


Tilak Varma and Hardik Pandya after India’s third T20I win vs WI.© AFP

Facing a must-win situation in the third T20I against West Indies on Tuesday, the Indian cricket team came out all guns blazing to register a big victory and keep the series alive. Performances from Tilak Varma, Kuldeep Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav helped India seal the deal. Varma grabbed everyone’s attention as he slammed 49* off 37 balls and stitched important stands with Suryakumar (83) and captain Hardik Pandya (20*). Varma has been a great performer in the T20Is for Mumbai Indians as well. His attacking play against the best of bowlers has been widely appreciated.

Player like Ravichandran Ashwin has also hinted that Varma can be an answer to India’s contingency plans for the ODI World Cup. “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,” Ashwin said on his YouTube channel.

Even Pandya is also appreciative of  Varma’s potential. During the third T20I, Pandya could be heard giving pep-talk to Varma, when he was batting on 44 off 32 balls and India needed 12 off 23. “Tereko especially khatam karna hai, rukna hai. Gendo ka fark padta hai (You have to stay there and finish the game. The number of balls faced makes a difference,” Hardik Pandya was heard saying in the stump-mic.

Meanwhile, the Indian opening duo of Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan achieved career-best rankings in the latest ODI list released on Wednesday, less than two months from the start of the 50-over World Cup in the country. Gill climbed two spots to be fifth overall and be within touching distance of Pakistani trio of Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq.

While Pakistan skipper Babar remains well in front, Gill rose to 743 rating points on the back of his excellent series against the West Indies and has third-placed Zaman (755) and fourth-placed Imam-ul-Haq (745) well within his sight.

Kishan too earned a new career-best rating after jumping nine places to 36th overall, while Hardik Pandya improved 10 places to be placed 71st in the batting chart following his efforts against the West Indies.

With PTI inputs

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