Talented wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma has been selected for the Indian squad participating in the Asian Games in Hangzhou from September 23. The 29-year-old’s outstanding performances in the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) earned him this opportunity, marking his second call-up to the national team after replacing Sanju Samson in the T20I series against Sri Lanka earlier this year.
The wicket-keeper batter recently shared details of his conversation with Indian head coach Rahul Dravid during his time with the team. According to Jitesh, Dravid advised him to continue batting in the same manner and mentioned that Team India is actively seeking players like him to fulfill important roles at the number five or six batting position.
Jitesh Sharma quoted Dravid as saying, “Continue batting the way you have been. We are specifically looking for players like you for these particular batting positions.” These words of encouragement from the head coach have boosted Jitesh’s confidence.
During IPL 2023, Jitesh played as a finisher for Punjab Kings, accumulating 309 runs in 14 innings with an average of 23.76 and a strike rate of 156.06. He registered one half-century during the tournament. Throughout his T20 career, spanning 90 matches, he has scored 2096 runs at an average of 29.11, including one century and nine fifties. Jitesh has also contributed with 71 dismissals, comprising 57 catches and 14 stumpings.
Jitesh Sharma shared his experience speaking to Rahul Dravid when he got his first call-up to the Indian squad 🔥
— Cricket.com (@weRcricket) July 11, 2023
Apart from Jitesh Sharma, other players such as Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Mukesh Kumar, and his Punjab Kings teammate Prabhsimran Singh have also been selected for the Asian Games squad. Ruturaj Gaikwad has been entrusted with the captaincy duties for the tournament, where India has already secured a spot in the quarterfinals as the highest-ranked Asian team.
Cricket has been featured in two previous editions of the Asian Games, held in Guangzhou (2010) and Incheon (2014). Sri Lanka is the defending champion, while Bangladesh emerged as the winner in the inaugural edition. Afghanistan finished as runners-up in both competitions.
Excitement surrounds Jitesh Sharma’s inclusion in the Indian squad, and fans eagerly await his performance in the upcoming Asian Games, hoping for his continued success on the international stage.