Johannesburg, Feb 8: Former South African all-rounder Vernon Philander believes Jasprit Bumrah, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will be the key players for India in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, scheduled to begin on June 1.
The showpiece event will be played in the West Indies and the USA, with 20 teams taking part in it. It will be interesting to see the team Indian selectors pick for the tournament.
Speaking exclusively to IANS, Philander showered praise on Indian pacer Bumrah and added, "They (Bumrah, Kohli, Rohit) are always big match players. They live for those moments, they are gonna be key players.
"Having Bumrah is always a positive. You get a tricky surface in the Caribbean, hopefully they are big match players and they will play a part in India's success."
Asked about this favourite team, the former cricketer said: "Tough one to pick a team. But surprises would be there, you might see some young guns. Like I said Christian Stubbs might be there. Platform (SA20) is being created and many young players would come from South Africa.
On his prediction for the semifinalists at the mega event, Philander shared: "India will be up there. Australia… this particular South Africa team, how they perform in 50 over World Cup, I don't think many people thought of. I certainly feel they would take a lot of confidence."
South Africa performed well in the ODI World Cup but lost to Australia in the semifinal. In the 2022 T20 World Cup, they failed to qualify for the semifinals after a surprise 13-run defeat against the Netherlands in their last league match in Adelaide.
Further talking about the ongoing SA20 league, Philander, who is also in a commentary panel of tournament, said: "It's an amazing league, I think in terms of fan engagement in terms of quality I'm impressed. It is wonderfully organised and a lot of work is done behind the scenes.
"Youngsters would learn a great deal from having those (foreign players) in the squad. Perhaps you obviously learn with your experience but more importantly from the mindset point of view, it is a great league for learning for youngsters. Youngsters like Stubbs and Mathew had a wonderful tournament. I certainly feel this league has certainly opened the eyes of young players in South Africa. The quality of the standards of international cricket, these guys will learn a lot," Philander signed off. (IANS)