Head coach of the Indian team, Ravi Shastri’s recent claim of playing skipper Virat Kohli down the order at No.4 has sparked a nation-wide debate and it is not surprising at all. Perhaps not many teams will like to change the batting position of its most dependable batsman during a mega event like the World Cup. The statement of Shastri has drawn mixed responses. Not very long ago, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly had expressed his disagreement over Shastri’s comment.
There is no about the fact that currently, Kohli is the best batsman in the Indian team. Moreover, he has achieved much of his success while batting at number three. In his ODI career so far, he has scored 10533 runs at an average of 59.50 which includes 39 centuries under his belt. Of those 39, 32 came while batting at No.3 which is definitely his preferred position.
Virat Kohli’s is nothing less than impressive. He has amassed 1744 runs at the position at an average of 58.13 which includes seven centuries. But he last batted at this position in 2015 and taking the gamble in England could pretty much backfire.
However, the chief of the Indian selection committee, MSK Prasad does not think on the same line and has in fact backed Shastri’s ideas. Calling Shastri’s idea as a ‘wonderful thought’, Prasad said that Virat can bat at number four.
As per the quotes in Times Now, Prasad said, “I think it is a wonderful thought that Virat Kohli can bat at No.4 and that is what Ravi Shastri has expressed. This has been happening for quite some time, but we will have to see. Because Virat has done extremely well at No.3. He is the No.1 batsman in the world. But if it is for the requirement of the team and Virat has to come at No.4 he will definitely do it. But again, we will have to see what the team requires and what the dynamics of the team is. That will decide his batting position.”
With Ambati Rayudu failing to score runs consistently, Shastri had opined that Virat could be demoted at number four if the situation demands. The number four position is a crucial position in the batting lineup which connects the top-order with the middle-order and the team management would definitely want a seasoned campaigner at that position.
Talking about the same, Shastri had said, “Someone like Virat Kohli can go to number four, and we can put a good number three to bring more balance to the batting line-up. That’s flexibility for you, and for big tournaments like the World Cup, you have to be flexible to see what’s the best balance for the side. So we will decide that (accordingly in England). Maybe Rayudu, or someone else, could bat at number three, and Kohli comes in at number four. We wouldn’t want to disturb the opening combination. Separating the top-three could make the batting stronger.”