With the auditioning of youngsters in full swing, legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has handpicked an India star who he believes will walk straight into the star-studded squad for the ICC World Cup T20 next year. After the success of the five-match T20I series against Australia, Suryakumar Yadav’s India officially kickstarted its ICC T20 World Cup preparations with the 2nd T20I against hosts South Africa on Tuesday.

Sunil Gavaskar spoke in detail about the Team India star(File)

India’s series opener was washed out by rain in Durban, leaving the Men In Blue with only five T20I matches in the lead-up to next year’s ICC World T20. Returning opener Shubman Gill, vice-captain Ravindra Jadeja, skipper Suryakumar Yadav, and finisher Rinku Singh were the only certainties in the starting eleven for the 2nd T20I against South Africa. Jadeja, Gill, Suryakumar and Rinku are also frontrunners to join seasoned campaigners in India’s squad for the next ICC event in the shortest format.

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Speaking to Star Sports during the three-match series between India and South Africa, batting legend Gavaskar backed comeback man Rishabh Pant to stake a claim for a place in the World Cup squad of the Men In Blue. Wicketkeeper-batter Pant missed the entire 2023 season after sustaining multiple injuries in a tragic car crash last year. As per the latest developments, Pant will make his return in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024. Pant is set to lead the Delhi Capitals (DC) at the IPL 2024.

‘One of my first picks if I were selector’: Gavaskar on ‘impact player’ Pant

“Yeah, he (Pant) walks back into the team. He’s an impact player. He shows his fitness in the IPL. Four months to go for the IPL. He plays the IPL. Whatever he does at the IPL. If he plays the whole IPL without any injury setback, then he walks into the team. Whether he scores one run or no runs at all in the IPL. I think he is a game-changer. He would be one of the first couple of picks if I was a selector,” Gavaskar said.

333 players to go under hammer at IPL 2024 auction

The upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League will serve as a great preparatory tournament for the 2024 T20 World Cup. As many as 333 players have been shortlisted for the IPL 2024 auction in Dubai. Pant was earlier retained by the 2020 runners-up for the 2024 season of the cash-rich league. The Delhi-based franchise has also re-signed David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Anrich Nortje, and Lungi Ngidi for IPL 2024. DC have INR 28.95 crore in their purse for the mini-auction.