World Cup 2019: Sanjay Manjrekar favours Vijay Shankar and not KL Rahul for India’s No.4 spot
Manjrekar opines that Rahul mostly of the times opened but Vijay had experience in the middle-order.
Updated - May 26, 2019 1:18 pm
India will play their first match in the ICC World Cup 2019 against South Africa on June 5 but they are yet to find a permanent solution to their No.4 puzzle. The Men in Blue though have picked Vijay Shankar as the one to man the crucial batting position but going by Saturday’s warm-up game versus New Zealand, it is evident that Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri are yet not clear over the issue. India sent KL Rahul at No.4 in the game held at the Oval but he was bowled by Trent Boult for just six in 10 balls.
It will be interesting to see who the Men in Blue play at No.4 in the remaining warm-up game against Bangladesh on May 28 although former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar feels that it is Vijay who India should persist with still. On Friday, Vijay was hit on his forearm why trying to pull left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed at the nets and India are hoping that he recovers fast.
Rahul averages 13 at No.4, Vijay yet to bat at that position
“I want to see Vijay Shankar begin with and see how he handles it. Because Rahul is more suited to No. 1 and 2. Very rarely he has batted at No 4, and when he did that, he did not look to me like a No 4. Rahul is a No 1 or 2 player who can be a replacement at the top,” Manjrekar was quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror.
Rahul, who has played only 14 matches since his ODI debut in 2016, has played just three innings at No.4 and averages only 13 in that position. Vijay, who left the training session midway after getting hit, is yet to bat at No.4.
Chief selector MSK Prasad had backed Vijay as one who could man the No.4 position and the Tamil Nadu cricketer pipped Ambati Rayudu who was being nurtured over a long period for the same position. Prasad even called Vijay a “three-dimensional cricketer”.
Rahul has been picked more as a reserve opener in the side but his rich exploits in the Indian Premier League recently made him look like a viable option at No.4.
“Why I said that because No 4 is a batsman who has to be fluid, who puts the ball into the gaps, handles spin well…and is wristy too. He has to have all the gears to handle situations like 20/2 or 220/2. Rahul always opened and Shankar has had a career in the middle-order. So, I will go with Vijay to begin with,” Manjrekar added.