Cricket

‘He could be the next Dhoni or Yuvraj’: Kiran More’s blockbuster T20 World Cup take on ‘brilliant’ Indian batter

With rain denying him an opportunity in the 1st T20I against Ireland, Kiran More hopes the Indian batter gets an chance in the remaining to matches.

The Asia Cup, that begins end of this month, followed by the ODI World Cup at home, starting next month, remain India’s primary focus as of yet. But amid the preparations, the management gave a peak into their T20 World Cup plans for next year. Touted to be led by Hardik Pandya, India launched their preparatory plans in West Indies before travelling to Ireland, where the opening match was marred by rain on Friday in Dublin. India however did win the game by just two runs, via DLS method, where the cynosure remained Jasprit Bumrah and his stunning return to action with a double-wicket first over which was enough to walk home with the Player of the Match award.

Former India wicketkeeper batter Kiran More, in conversation with Jio Cinema, however was more excited to see Rinku Singh cast his magic after being handed his international debut, but rain in Dublin ruined his expectations. After a stellar season in IPL 2023 for Kolkata Knight Riders, where every expert backed his India selection, Rinku was eventually picked up for Ireland series after being snubbed for the West Indies tour. He was later added to India’s Asian Games squad as well.

Hoping that the second and third T20Is in Ireland offer Rinku an opportunity to prove his worth on international platform, More opined that the KKR star could be the next best India finisher in the T20I format like MS Dhoni or Yuvraj Singh.

“I have been waiting for his opportunity in the Indian team. And that batting position, of No.5 and 6, he will perform well in that spot and can end up being a brilliant finisher. We all have seen MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. After that we haven’t got a player like them. We tried making such players, but it didn’t work so far. Tilak Varma is also there, he too can perform that role. Rinku is also a brilliant fielder. And I have seen him in domestic cricket as well, he has improved a lot I feel,” he said.

Rinku was the highest run-getter for a batter at No.5 and 6 in IPL 2023, scoring 416 runs in 13 innings at 145.45, laced wit three fifties. And, among 12 batters who faced at least 75 deliveries in the death overs, Rinku’s strike rate of 186.67 only stood marginally behind top-ranked Heinrich Klaasen (187.36) and was the best ever by an Indian batter. But the factor that stood out in his slog-over prowess was his ability to hit boundaries at will, striking them every 3.6 balls and with a maximum almost every seven deliveries.

Adding to More’s remark, former India cricketer Abhishek Nayar urged the team management to give Rinku a consistent run from here on and groom him for the role of a finisher for T20 World Cup next year, saying that he is tailor-made for that batting position.

“With Hardik Pandya transforming into a role of a batter and playing higher up the order, you need someone down the order who can finish off the job for you. You did have someone like Axar Patel for it, but Rinku is tailor-made. He has been a prolific run-getter across formats in domestic cricket. It is just about grooming him and constantly giving those opportunities. The last player India had tagged as a finisher was Dinesh Karthik. Hardik had performed that role terrifically as well, but he has now evolved as a batter who can take responsibility up the order. That is why the outlook towards Rinku should be the same as we are looking towards Tilak,” he said.

India will play the next T20I match against Ireland on Sunday with the the finale on Wednesday.

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