The 19-year-old Tilak Varma strived under pressure with an unbeaten 34 to bail out Mumbai Indians (MI) in a low-scoring thriller against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Wankhede Stadium. Otherwise, in what has been a dismal campaign for Rohit Sharma and Co, Tilak has been the brightest star to come out in IPL 2022.
Varma had represented India in the Under-19 World Cup in South Africa in 2020, when they finished runners-up. Although he didn’t make a mark in the tournament, the cricketer from Hyderabad flourished in Mumbai colours.
So far, Tilak Varma has made 386 runs in 12 innings – the most by a teenager in an IPL season, breaking Rishabh Pant‘s record of 366 runs in 2017. The southpaw averages over 40 and has scored at a rate of 132.85.
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma is bullish about young Varma making it to the national team across all formats. Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Rohit said:
“He’s been brilliant playing for the first year. Having such a calm head is never easy and in my opinion, I feel he’s going to be an all-format player for India pretty soon. He’s got the technique, he’s got the temperament, which is the most important thing when you play at the highest level.”
“So, I think a lot of things are looking bright for him and there is hunger. When you speak to him, there’s hunger to do well and finish games and have some success as well. I think he’s on the right path; he just needs to keep growing and see how he can improve and get better as a player,” Rohit Sharma added.
“There are options that we want to try” – Rohit Sharma on looking ahead
With two league games still to go, the MI captain stressed that they want to try out a couple of things for the next season. Uncapped South African batter Tristan Stubbs, who came in as a late replacement for the injured Tymal Mills, was handed his IPL debut in the game, which was a step in that direction.
“Yeah, we’re keeping one eye on that [future] definitely, but we want to win games. That’s the bottom line but at the same time we want to make sure that we try out certain players and give them certain roles and try and see if they can live up to that. It will hold us in good stead for the next year. There are options that we want to try – there are still two games to go for us. So we might try certain things as well,” Rohit concluded.