Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has backed former India coach Ravi Shastri’s idea of playing Virat Kohli at No. 4 as well. The veteran also wants the team management to be flexible regarding the batting order as well. He also cited that the Indian team have often been exposed by the new ball, adding that the early wickets of Rohit Sharma and Kohli have been the main reasons behind the defeat.
Meanwhile, Kohli has played 39 ODIs at No. 4, scoring 1767 runs which came at an average of 55.22, including seven tons. However, his natural position has always been No. 3, where he scored 10,777 runs in 210 ODIs at an average of 60.21, including 39 tons as well.
Gavaskar told India Today: “(On batting order) Any team has to be flexible…but I don’t want to disturb the top order. I don’t think Rohit Sharma should be looking to bat down the order. Yes, you can look at having Kohli at No. 4, particularly, if a wicket falls early because the new ball can do some early damage. Every time India has lost, I think it’s that the fact the new ball in the first 10-12 overs, India have lost three or four wickets, and both wickets out of these wickets have been Sharma and Kohli, who’ve been the victims, so it’s difficult. Maybe, look at it depending on the situation.”
However, Sunil Gavaskar further added that part-timers Rohit and Kohli wouldn’t be much handy with the ball. He also added that all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja will be crucial for India’s success in the Asia Cup and ODI World Cup as well. He added,
“(On Rohit & Kohli bowling) If they had been bowling quite regularly, yes, it could be good, but when you look at the successful teams in limited-overs cricket that have gone on to win championships. For India, you’ll find there have been full of all-rounders, batters who can bowl and bowlers down the order who’ve contributed when they get to bat about six or seven overs, they’ve contributed good runs. So, yes, I think the all-rounders are gonna be the key, so it’s good to see Hardik Pandya in the team. He’s the kind of player who is a game-changer along with Ravindra Jadeja. These two guys are going to be the key.”
Sunil Gavaskar further opined on India’s head coach Rahul Dravid’s comments on the need for batting depth as well. He said that the top order, involving Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Virat Kohli, and all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja will do bulk of the scoring as well.
“(On batting depth) India has a tremendous batting lineup. You’ll probably find very very few occasions that No. 9 and 10 will be asked to bat because the top order is so good that I don’t think you should be too worried. If you have somebody like Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja at 6 and 7, that’s excellent. These guys can be finishers as well, so I think it’s a very very good team. Kudos to the selection committee for what they have done,” Sunil Gavaskar concluded.