Ravi Shastri backs Virat Kohli to bat at number four in the World Cup 2019
He also mulled sending the likes of Rayudu or any other batsman at number three.
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Just when the debate for India’s number slot was shut by Ambati Rayudu in New Zealand, head coach Ravi Shastri has given a new twist to the matter. He is now backing the captain Virat Kohli to don the role in the World Cup which will begin on May 30 in England. Shastri believes that the Indian batting will look stronger if the top three are separated and it remains to be seen what will be the final decision.
After trying a plethora of batsmen at the crucial middle-order position since 2015, the Men in Blue finally settled down to Rayudu at the number four slot who has also made it his own since coming back to the Indian side. But going with the flexibility of this team, Rayudu might have to bat at number three if Shastri’ words are anything to go by.
“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),” Shastri said in an exclusive interview to Cricbuzz.
Last minute changes?
Ravi Shastri has lauded the players’ ability to move up and down and looked pretty confident about Virat Kohli doing well at number four. He also felt that Rayudu can take up the additional responsibility during the World Cup and bat one down if the wicket falls early.
“Yes (Shastri’s reply when asked about Rayudu at the one-down position), 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.
“But we will assess that on seeing conditions there in England. You don’t want to be 18-3 or 16-4 in a big tournament. I don’t care about bilateral ODIs, but why should I lose my best batsman early in a World Cup match (if the conditions are bowler friendly)?” the Indian head coach added.