Former India opener Aakash Chopra believes with the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 becoming a platform for the emergence of the next generation of T20 cricketers for India, players who are in the current generation may not be a part of the national set-up in the shortest format of the game.
With the 2024 Men`s T20 World Cup to be held in West Indies just over a year away, IPL 2023 has seen players like Rinku Singh, Tilak Varma, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jitesh Sharma impressing everyone with their consistency and big-hitting skills in various roles.
“The next generation of T20 cricketers for a specific format is almost getting ready and are there, with a few more there too. So, the previous generation of cricketers, whoever they were, irrespective of their names, they will find it increasingly difficult to be part of the new template to play in, as said by India after last year`s T20 World Cup.”
“If they want to play on the same road and in the same fashion, then you will see a lot of new cricketers and the last generation, which is the current generation, might not actually be a part of the T20 scheme of things,” said Chopra, an IPL expert for JioCinema, in a select virtual media interaction.
The scintillating performances of young batters in IPL 2023 could lead to senior players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and K.L. Rahul, who haven`t played the format internationally after India`s exit from the semifinals of the 2022 Men`s T20 World Cup, are not guaranteed to be automatic starters in the team whenever the international cricket cycle resumes.
“Time will tell about their future, but the trio haven`t played T20I cricket after last year`s World Cup. This being an ODI World Cup year means India will play less of T20Is. Moreover, in this year`s T20Is, you won`t see anyone playing, especially with Rahul being available to play not known yet. But I don`t see these three playing T20Is for the next five-six months,” added Chopra.
Chopra also foresees Jaiswal and Rinku making their international debuts whenever India play five T20Is against West Indies and three matches against Ireland while pointing out that the left-handed batting duo has been a force to reckon with in other formats.
“I have put a timeline that in 90 days, all of us will see Yashasvi Jaiswal wearing the Indian jersey. Plus, you will have to take Rinku Singh seriously, which people are not doing right now. He`s not a fluke, not defined by five sixes, because he`s faring better than in numbers four, five, six and no one is able to lead chases better than him.”
“These two players are on top of my list who have left their impact in the tournament. For understanding purpose, these two players aren`t just T20 phenomenons. Rinku`s first-class average is 60 while Yashasvi has made a plethora of runs in the domestic cricket season. So, they had been doing well in other formats, and it`s just that world tends to notice more in the IPL and the future looks bright for these two.”
Chopra signed off by saying Shivam Dube, who has hit 30 sixes in IPL 2023, the most by an Indian player in the tournament, could also get a look-in to the national set-up after last playing a T20I for India in February 2020.
“The seniors won`t be a part of those two series like it happened when Sri Lanka and New Zealand were here this year. In those, we can see some debuts for India and Shivam Dube actually making it back to the Indian team.”
“I liked the way he`s batted. So, if India are looking for a template to play T20s, Shivam Dube should be a part of it. He`s hitting sixes which is perhaps the best in the tournament so far. These performances are going to get rewarded.”