New Delhi: Former Indian batsman Mohammad Kaif feels Prithvi Shaw can get a place in the T20 World Cup if he performs well in the upcoming Sri Lanka series and the Indian Premier League. Shaw has been in fine form as he had scored 308 runs in the first phase of IPL 2021 in eight matches for Delhi Capitals.

Shaw will be seen in action in the upcoming limited-overs series against Sri Lanka. India and hosts Sri Lanka will lock horns in three ODIs and three T20Is, beginning July 18.

Ahead of the series, in a free-wheeling chat with ANI, Kaif spoke about the hope he has from Shaw, how head coach Rahul Dravid would have a calming influence on the group and how he would like to see Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal operating in unison.

“Prithvi Shaw showed good form in the IPL, every big player has a test, when you have that form, the challenge is to make full use of that form. Shaw had a good domestic season and IPL, if he plays well in Sri Lanka and the remaining matches of the IPL, then he can make a case for himself to be included in the T20 World Cup squad. There is competition, Prithvi needs to play big knocks. I have no doubt that Shaw has the ability to play well and if he plays well, then he makes sure that his team ends on the right side of the result. Prithvi Shaw plays impactful knocks, we have to see how he plays in Sri Lanka,” said Kaif.

Talking about the spin duo of Kuldeep and Chahal, Kaif said: “Kuldeep and Chahal should play all the matches, but you also need to look at the balance of the side. Coach and captain need to have the right balance, if you play three pacers and Kuldeep-Chahal, then there is an absence of an all-rounder. Yes, if you play six batters, then Kuldeep and Chahal should play all the matches.”

“Both Kuldeep and Chahal have performed well together, but Kuldeep has not been getting the support. People are saying that his form is not up to the mark or his body language is bad, for me these things do not matter. He is a talented bowler, the captain and coach should back him. You do not get a chinaman in every market, if you have that bowler, then you need to look after him and Rahul Dravid knows how to do that,” he added.

Over the last few years, Sri Lanka Cricket has gone downhill and in the latest, the side failed to register even a single win on their tour of England. Off the field, there were issues, as three players — Kusal Mendis, Dhanushka Gunathilake and Niroshan Dickwella — broke the bio-bubble in the UK and they were sent home. The trio has now been suspended and SLC has launched an inquiry into the issue.

“As a cricket fan, I just want to see a good game. If I take out 5-6 hours, I want to enjoy a good cricket match. If you look at world cricket, the teams have gotten weaker, they have not become stronger. Be it Zimbabwe, South Africa, Sri Lanka. Pakistan is also going through a bad phase, they used to have brilliant players earlier. You talked about Sri Lanka, once upon a time they had brilliant players. It is disappointing to see as a fan. Australia is also not as strong as it used to be earlier. As a fan, I am saddened to see this situation,” said Kaif.

Talking about what could be on offer in the upcoming series, Kaif said: “All players should focus on this Sri Lanka series. You cannot take your eye off the ball, and Rahul Dravid will ensure that this does not happen. He will keep telling the players to give their best and he will play the best possible XI. Many people are saying that everyone will get a chance in the series, but I guess the best XI players they have in their ranks will play all the matches.”

All our players have been selected on the basis of their performance in the IPL. If you do well in the IPL, that proves you can play at the international level as well. Anybody who comes out of the IPL, will do well. We have selected a good team for the Sri Lanka series. All the players know the importance of every match,” he added.

The first ODI between India and Sri Lanka can be seen live on July 18 on SONY TEN 1 and SONY SIX in English from 3 pm IST.

With ANI Inputs.