The number four of the current Indian batting lineup has been a topic of major discussion. The management has experimented extensively to find that right person for that spot.
Indian coach Ravi Shastri believes skipper Virat Kohli is the right person to bat at number four. Former legendary batsman and Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar also agrees with Shastri on this topic.
The management at present has kept faith on Ambati Rayudu to be the number four batter. Rayudu scored a scintillating 90-run knock in the recently concluded fifth ODI against New Zealand.
But Rayudu’s inconsistencies has been a major headache for the team management. There are just five more ODIs for the Men in Blue before the 2019 World Cup. Hence they are short on time to conduct further experiments. As a result Gavaskar feels that Kohli is the ideal option for that spot.
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At No. 4 Kohli will get protection from swing
Gavaskar also elaborated his thought by saying that Kohli will get protection from swing if he bats at No. 4. He cited the example of India’s infamous collapse in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final against Pakistan in England. Gavaskar believes demoting Kohli to No. 4 can be beneficial to the team.
“There needs to be flexibility. More the flexibility in the batting line-up, more beneficial to the team. Let’s look at what happened in the Champions Trophy final. Rohit Sharma was dismissed by Mohammed Aamir early. When Virat Kohli came out to bat, the ball was swinging quite a bit. Pakistan were pumped up after having put 300 on the board,” Gavaskar told India Today.
“In such situations, an important player like Virat Kohli needs protection. He can come in at No. 4. Maybe the ball may not move that much when the No. 4 batsman walks out to the middle. Such moves can be beneficial to the team. Yes, according to the conditions, flexibility is needed. If not, Virat Kohli is suited to batting at No. 3. In conditions that are conducive to swing bowling, India can afford to play Virat at No. 4,” added Gavaskar.
Kohli has played majority of his games while batting at No. 3. So far he has scored 39 ODI centuries. Among that 32 came while he came to bat at No. 3. However he also has an impressive record while batting at No. 4. He has scored 1929 runs including 7 centuries at that spot.