MUMBAI (Reuters) - Rahul Tripathy's red-hot form in the Indian Premier League has convinced former India coach Ravi Shastri that the Sunrisers Hyderabad top order batsman is good enough to play international cricket.
Tripathy smashed his third fifty of the season on Tuesday to secure his team's narrow victory against Mumbai Indians that also kept alive their hopes of making the playoffs.
The 31-year-old is eighth in the leading scorers' list, though his 161-plus strike rate is higher than the seven ahead of him.
"He's not far at all," Shastri told ESPNcricinfo of Tripathy's India prospects.
"If someone doesn't get up from the bench or gets up from the wrong side of the bed and gets injured, this guy can be slotted in straightaway.
"He can go at number three or four, he's a dangerous player, and should be in the mix."
Tripathy has been the most prolific number three batsman this season and impressed again with his 76 off 44 balls on Tuesday.
"He's been around for a bit and what I like about his game is his fearlessness, and he's got a tag of being a known quantity and someone the opposition wants to get out quickly," Shastri said.
Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson is also sure of Tripathy's potential.
"He's a seriously special player and he comes out and takes that momentum away and that's his attitude every time he bats," Williamson said.
"We've seen that on a number of occasions throughout this competition. He's certainly destined for big things, I reckon."
Tripathy himself is not in a hurry to realise his India dreams.
"When you play cricket, it's obviously your dream to represent the country," the right-hander said.
"If I keep doing well and they believe that I can win matches for my country, then definitely I will get the opportunity."
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)