Aakash Chopra, the former Indian opener-turned commentator, has lambasted India’s ‘ridiculous’ approach towards zeroing on the No.4 spot in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup.
India went into the 2019 World Cup as one of the title contenders. With a world-beating top-3 in the form of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan, firepower in the form of Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, and Hardik Pandya and a brilliant bowling attack, the Men in Blue had almost every base covered barring that No.4 spot.
And, the Virat Kohli-led team-management had no one but themselves to blame for it. The team-management auditioned as many as 14 players between 2016-2019 at the No.4 spot but did not a long enough rope to any of them.
The one who did get some sort of a long rope was Ambati Rayudu but even he was dumped from the set-up after a few failures in the lead-up to the tournament.
“This is ridiculous. You played more than a dozen players at No.4 and none of them have played more than 16 matches at that position. I mean you have auditioned 14 players and not even given 20 innings to even one of them. We are talking about a period of 5 years here.” Aakash Chopra said on his Youtube channel.
‘It was a problem of our own making’- Aakash Chopra on India’s No.4 conundrum
India started with KL Rahul at the No.4 spot in the 2019 World Cup but had to resort to playing Vijay Shankar following an injury to opener Shikhar Dhawan.
Vijay Shankar’s injury during practice made things even more worse for the Men in Blue and that, in a nutshell, just exposed how clueless the team-management were, when they sent an inexperienced Rishabh Pant in the semi-final against New Zealand.
“We have been consistently making changes and because of this only when the 2019 World Cup came, we were still searching for the No.4 batsman. You didn’t take Rayudu, kept Vijay Shankar at the beginning, then you thought about KL Rahul and then you went to Rishabh Pant, you were absolutely clueless. It was a problem of our own making, we didn’t do a good job.” Aakash Chopra further added.
India eventually paid the price for it as they bowed out of the World Cup in the semi-final stage.