'Here because of the IPL' - Tilak Varma credits MI exposure for India T20I ascent
Tilak Varma expressed gratitude towards Indian Premier League (IPL) and his successful initiation with Mumbai Indians (MI) for a bright start to his T20I career in India colours. Varma has been the only bright positive for the Indian side trailing the ongoing five-match series 0-2 in the Caribbean with impressive knocks of 39 and 51.
More than the runs, the intent at the crease, the ability to dissect the field and break past opposition plans have been the stand-out feature. While the skill level will only heighten and improve over time with regular exposure, Varma's aggressive streak and the tendency to find boundary options and nullify strategies make it one of the more impressive debuts of what could shape up to be a truly promising career for India.
But the 20-year-old Hyderabad cricketer's swift early transition to the top-level game is also a champagne moment for the BCCI and IPL, who have managed to provide young talents like Varma a great platform to fasten their growth and learnings and progress through to the national T20I set-up.
The player himself recognises the astute guidance provided by the MI coaches and lessons availed through the exposure of rubbing shoulders with the best cricketers over the past two editions of IPL as key to his seamless adaptation to rigours in Trinidad and Guyana.
Tilak Varma credits IPL exposure after impressive T20I debut
Speaking to broadcasters during the mid-innings break for the second T20I on Sunday (August 6), where Tilak Varma top-scored for the second straight outing and helped India reach a competitive score of 152/7, the youngster credited the IPL exposure and backing provided by the MI set-up for his initial success in the Indian jersey.
The young turk also thanked skipper Rohit Sharma for being a constant "support system" of his and for believing he is an "all-format" prospect for the country.
"Everyone knows that the two IPL seasons were my turning point. I am here because of my performances there. So I am just playing with that confidence and going forward I want to continue what I've been doing," the left-hander said.
"In my first IPL season, he [Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai Indians captain] told me that I am an all-format player and that was a huge boost for me. That gave me a lot of confidence."
"He told me from then that I have to be consistent and for that I need to be disciplined off the field. So I take his guidance and have been following the things he has told me to do."
The selectors' keenness to retain an aggressive left-hander in the middle order combined with Tilak playing the tough role with progressive measure for MI in IPL 2022 and IPL 2023 bolstered his case for selection. He made 397 runs in his first season for the five-time champions at a strike-rate of 131.02 and backed that up with an even better 343 runs at 164.11 this summer,