Virender Sehwag has backed uncapped Jitesh Sharma to be in India's squad for the T20 World Cup as a reserve wicketkeeper-batsman.
The 28-year-old from Punjab Kings showed his finishing ability against Rajasthan Royals when he smashed an unbeaten 38 off just 18 balls to prop up their total to 189/5 after a mid-innings collapse.
Promoted ahead of the experienced Liam Livingstone, Jitesh clobbered four boundaries and two sixes to underline his ability as a dependable middle-order batter.
“He has impressed quite a bit... So should we also include him in the Australia-bound T20 World Cup squad?” Sehwag said in Cricbuzz Live-Talking Points.
“I am just asking because whoever scores runs, we keep them in the category of potential players for the World Cup. But no doubt, he has impressed me a lot. If I had to select the team, I would take him to Australia as a second wicketkeeper-batter for the T20 World Cup (in September-October),” Sehwag said.
There have been quite a few fighting for the reserve wicketkeeper-batsman's slot including Ishan Kishan, Dinesh Karthik and Sanju Samson, but Sehwag put Jitesh ahead of all of them.
“Ishan Kishan is a wicketkeeper-batter, Rishabh Pant is a wicketkeeper-batter, (Wriddhiman) Saha is a wicketkeeper-batter, but out of all of them, if there is someone who has impressed me the most... is Jitesh Sharma. The flair with which he bats... He has no fear, he comes into bat and expresses himself. He knows on what ball to play a shot over the covers, what ball I need to play over mid-off and mid-on,” Sehwag hailed.
The six Jitesh hit against Yuzvendra Chahal leaning outside the crease and lifting it over wide long on reminded Sehwag of the way V.V.S. Laxman used to hit against the legendary Shane Warne.
“He reminded me of V.V.S. Laxman with the six he hit off Yuzvendra Chahal... Laxman used to hit Shane Warne with an open stance over mid-wicket. He has impressed me quite a bit.”
Bought at his base price of Rs 20 lakh, Jitesh has made 162 runs from seven innings, of which he was unbeaten twice, and he also boasts of a strike-rate of 167.01.