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MSK Prasad backs Ravi Shastri’s idea of demoting Virat Kohli at number four during the World Cup 2019

Shastri doesn't want to lose his best batsman early in the World Cup.

MSK Prasad
MSK Prasad. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Indian head coach Ravi Shastri’s recent claim of playing skipper Virat Kohli at No.4 has sparked a nation-wide debate and it is not surprising at all. Perhaps no team in the world would change the batting position of its most dependable batsman during a big tournament like the World Cup. Shastri’s statement has drawn mixed responses.  Not very long ago, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly had expressed his disagreement over Shastri’s comment.

Kohli has been Team India’s batting mainstay for quite some time now. Moreover, he has achieved much of his success wielding his willow at number three. The best-ranked ODI player in the world at the moment, Kohli enjoys a stellar record in the 50-over format. So far, he has scored 10533 runs at an average of 59.50 which includes 39 centuries. Of those 39, 32 came while batting at No.3 which is definitely his preferred position.

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Virat Kohli’s record at number four is equally impressive. He has scored 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, MSK Prasad, the chairman of the selection panel, 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 Kohli can bat at number four.

“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,” Prasad quoted as saying by Times now.

Shastri’s comments

With Ambati Rayudu not delivering on a consistent basis, Ravi Shastri had opined that Virat Kohli could be demoted at number four if the situation demands. The number four spot 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.

“The good thing about this Indian top-three is we can separate them if conditions and situations demand. 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,” Shastri had told Cricbuzz.

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