Former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan backed Jitesh Sharma to play ahead of Ishan Kishan in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024. He said that it would be difficult for the left-hander to find a place because there is a traffic jam at the top-order in the Indian team.
India are currently locking horns with South Africa in the T20I series. The first match of the series was washed out due to rain and the questions that were there ahead of the first game are still there. The Indian combination for the series is the major talking point, especially with a lot of exciting players in the squad.
Another question that has been bothering many is who among Jitesh Sharma and Ishan Kishan will be there in the XI as a keeper. Both the batters have been playing staggering a brand of cricket but only one among them can make cut in the playing 11.
If Ishan Kishan has to play, the team needs to adjust him in the top three. But this would mean that one of the specialist top-order batters have to make way for him. On the other hand, Jitesh Sharma bats in the lower order and can take on the bowlers right from the ball 1.
With all the questions being unanswered so far, Irfan Pathan was asked about to choose between the duo for India’s T20 World Cup squad. Replying to this, he backed Jitesh Sharma to play. He pointed out that Ishan Kishan takes time to get going and the right-hander should be there. Speaking to Star Sports, he explained:
“I will play Jitesh hands down. I have maintained from earlier that if you have to play Ishan, whether it is ODIs or T20Is, you have to play him at the top, and there is a traffic jam at the top.
“It’s very difficult for Ishan Kishan to make his place. This is my belief. I don’t know at all what the team management thinks but his ability that I have judged for many years, I feel he needs the hard new ball and then he plays spin well.”
Jitesh Sharma is a slightly creative player – Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan further went on to praise Jitesh Sharma, saying that the right-hander is a creative player and bats like Suryakumar Yadav. While highlighting his impressive performances, the former Indian cricketer stressed his staggering strike rate against spinners and pacers. He added:
“When you bat in the middle order, you will get spin in front of you, and there you (Kishan) might have difficulties at times. Jitesh Sharma is a slightly creative player. He is a Suryakumar Yadav-mold type player. You will see him playing the lap and different types of shot.
“His growth in T20 cricket in the last one to one-and-a-half years has been fantastic. He has been doing the finisher’s role extremely well for the Punjab Kings in the IPL and he recently played two very good innings (for India). His strike rate is always impressive and he plays both spin and fast bowling well.”
Jitesh Sharma has been impressive for India in the three T20I innings. He has smashed 64 runs at an outstanding strike rate of 164.10.