“First T20 series coming, play these guys (youngsters), expose these guys. They (selectors) should start bleeding them now. Players like Rohit, Virat Kohli, they’ve proven themselves, you know what they’re speak I would go this way (good IPL performers) so they get the opportunities, they get the exposure, while you keep the Virats and Rohits fresh for one day cricket and test cricket.
“Your focus there with that kind of experience should shift to test cricket, red ball cricket for the future World Trials Championshipand they stay fresh (so that) there isn’t too much cricket where there is overkill,” Shastri said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
Adding that India should focus on a good mix of left-handed and right-handed hitters for specific roles, Shastri also believes that the Indian team’s selection criteria should only be ‘current form’.
“A year is a long time. Players can be fit, shape can go. You’ll pick the best guys at that time and then, of course, experience will count, fitness will count. Who’s hot right now, who is consistent, who has the points and where he has the points.”
“He should be the right man for the right job. He shouldn’t be a guy who beats at three or four for his franchise, and suddenly you have him beat at six or open the innings when it comes to choosing a team for India.”
“I’d like the mix of the left-right hitting combination. Just like you’re looking for a left arm with the ball, I’d like to see southpaws there. You see this IPL, teams that have done well, look at the mix they have,” he added.
Speaking of the wicket-battering keeper position, Shastri thinks number six or seven will be ideal. India currently has Ichan Kishan and Sanju Samson, with Rishabh Pants out of action due to recovering from injuries sustained in a car crash last year. Moreover, Jitesh also comes into the mix with strong finishing skills for the Punjab Kings.
“If there are other good openers, you might want a wicket keeper who beats at six or seven. Still, if your opening is a bit weak, you might want to look for a wicket keeper who could open the stick. That number becomes very important and what are your reserves, what are your strengths… In there, you fit in the dude. That applies everywhere in this team,” he added.
Shastri added that Hardik Pandyawho captained India in T20Is after semi-final exit in 2022 Men T20 World Cupcan place the right people in the right positions, citing him doing the same while leading the Gujarat Titans in the IPL.
“Oh you will get that right with Hardik. He will get that right where he wants his six bowlers including himself and the players for the right numbers. Just seeing how he captained Gujarat Titans , you can see there is a player for a number and there is a role he will take on in the Indian team.”
(With contributions from agencies)