Team India’s head coach, Ravi Shastri has said Virat Kohli could bat at number four at the World Cup. In an exclusive interview with Cricbuzz, Ravi said since India’s top-order is so dominating they could risk of altering with Kohli’s batting slot if the conditions and situations demand. However, the statement could look naive to the cricket fanatics knowing what the India captain has achieved batting at that position; Shastri has given reasoning and an alternative batsman to play at number three in the mega event in England.
Rayudu could bat at three to give balance – Shastri
The gaffer said Ambati Rayudu could bat at three to provide more stability to the team. When asked about specific issues – the fourth number slot and the players for the lower-middle-order, the coach opened up, adding Kohli batting at number four could provide flexibility in the lineup. Further, he pressed on the fact that balance is what it is required in big tournaments.
“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).”
Since history is witness what happened in the finals of the Champions Trophy 2017 against Pakistan. Chasing 339 in the summit clash, India got reduced to 6 for two at one stage; with both Rohit and Kohli returning to the pavilion. As a result, India couldn’t begin well and thus lost the match by 180 runs.
However, the head coach said he doesn’t want the old demons to haunt India again at the World Cup. Ravi Shastri noted to avoid such a similar situation, India could bring in the changes if needed. Though he said India would not alter with the top two, who would bat at the third and fourth spot could be looked upon.
I don’t want to lose my best batsmen early – Ravi
Of late, India had suffered some setbacks; in the Hamilton ODI (40/7 at one stage) and Wellington (18/4). Even though Kohli wasn’t there on the teamsheet, Ravi Shastri added such a situation could occur at the World Cup. Not only this, but he also said why India would lose their best batsmen in a game in England when things could get altered.
“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)?”
Meanwhile, the 15-man squad for the 2019 World Cup will be picked one month before the tournament begins.