'Kohli, Rohit are there but he is certainly knocking down the door' - Graeme Smith wants this youngster in the Indian team
Graeme Smith believes the spree of young talent on display in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) augurs well for the future of Indian cricket. The former South Africa captain is impressed with multiple young performers knocking on the doors of the senior Indian team.
Among the players to have caught the eyes of the Proteas legend is Rajasthan Royals (RR) opening batter Yashasvi Jaiswal, who is going through an incredible run with the bat for the inaugural season champions. The left-hander has lit up the IPL 2023 with his scintillating performances, carrying a jaw-dropping tally of 575 runs in his 12 innings.
Being a shining light at the top of the order for the Royals, Jaiswal has an average of 52.75 with a terrific strike-rate of 167.15 for the tournament, with four half-centuries and a maiden IPL century next to his name. The 21-year-old blasted an unbeaten 98 in his last innings in the win over Gujarat Titans (GT).
Smith opined Jaiswal is rapidly progressing in the pecking order and could be wearing the Indian jersey later this year as the senior side approach its transition phase, particularly in the limited-overs game where the backup opener's slot could be cause for an interesting three-way tussle between Jaiswal, Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Smith backs Yashasvi Jaiswal's India prospects
The former South Africa skipper noted down the quick growth and development process that Yashasvi Jaiswal has undergone in Royals jersey after a pair of seasons where he struggled to continue his ascent into an explosive player without compromising on his consistency.
The IPL 2021 was a good example of the same. While the young talent had an eye-catching strike-rate of 148.21 on dry surfaces in UAE, he endured a dip in his average to a modest 24.90 while taking the aggressive route. He has now elevated his game to two notches higher, retaining a spectacular rate of scoring and being highly consistent at it.
"In terms of selection, he (Jaiswal) is certainly knocking down the door. That is all he can do at the moment right now," Smith was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. "He has controlled that. Indian cricket is blessed with a lot of options like senior cricketers in Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, who is injured now."
"You also have Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill. The selectors surely have some nice headaches to have but Yashasvi has certainly put his name right up there in the conversation," he added.
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Smith said it has been "incredible" watching Jaiswal on song in the middle. The great captain lauded the player's ability to manoeuvre the field nicely and find gaps to keep the scoreboard moving while maintaining a strong balance and shape when he plays the big shots.
"Well, he has been incredible. I have watched some of his domestic performances which have been really good. You can also see a growth in his game from the last season of IPL."
"I have loved watching him play. He has just got a natural ability to find the gap. He has got stroke play, particularly on the off side and has developed strength on the leg side which has made him dynamic," he added.