In the midst of the fourth edition of the action-packed Abu Dhabi T10 tournament, former England off-spinner Graeme Swann has revealed which members of Team India he would most like to see play the shortest format of the game.
Swann, who claimed 255 wickets in 60 Tests for his country, is working as a part of the broadcast team for the ten-over-a-side competition taking place entirely at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
BCCI regulations at present restrict Indian representation in franchise cricket to only the IPL. Naturally, that also extends to T10 cricket.
Nevertheless, speaking exclusively in his role as Betfair Ambassador, Graeme Swann named two players from the current Indian set-up whom he would like to see play T10 cricket. He took the names of Shubman Gill and Rishabh Pant, saying in this regard:
My personal favourites in Indian cricket to watch are Shubman Gill and Rishabh Pant. I love watching Shubman Gill bat. He's a brilliant player. Very elegant. Good player of the short ball. Rishabh Pant is my sort of maverick mercurial player that I love. He can be a brilliant match-winner like he was for India on the last day of a Test series (against Australia in Brisbane last month) or he can go three or four games getting out first ball caught at deep mid-wicket. I really enjoy Rishabh Pant as a cricketer, and I think he could be explosive in T10s!"
While the two Indian youngsters are top of the must-watch list for Graeme Swann, he admitted that the choice was a tough one.
"To be honest, the IPL is the benchmark for all T20 competitions around the world these days, and the Indian players are electrically good, so it's hard for me to select just one or two, but at the minute they (Gill and Pant) would be my personal favorites," said Graeme Swann.
Graeme Swann wants to see T10 cricket in the Olympics
Due to the stance of the BCCI regarding Indian players playing franchise cricket tournaments outside the country, one possible route for fans to witness Team India players playing the T10 format would be for the sport to become a part of the Olympic Games.
The 10 over-a-side nature of the format means that an entire 20-over match can reasonably be completed inside 90 minutes, which would lend itself well to the limited window of over two weeks offered by the Olympics.
The likes of Eoin Morgan and Dwayne Bravo have gone on record saying they would love to see the T10 format added to the Olympic programme in the future; Graeme Swann was in full agreement with these views:
I think it's a great idea. If it gets cricket in the Olympics, then that would be awesome...I'd love that! It's great to watch. It's not a game of chess exactly...It's as crazy as cricket can get," said Graeme Swann.
There are, of course, many hurdles to be overcome before Olympic T10 cricket can become a reality.
However, the excitement that could be generated in such a compact innings by a Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill or either of the Pandya brothers, for example, is absolutely undeniable. Though the odds are slim, cricket fans around the world will wish to see that happen someday.