After two years of debating and predictions, the Indian national selectors finally decided to back Vijay Shankar for the much talked about no. 4 batting position in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 to be played in England. He is the first-choice batsman for that slot, as chief selector MSK Prasad while naming the team said that if Shankar is in the playing XI, he will bat at no. 4. However, former Indian cricketer and chief selector, Sandeep Patil feels that the batting positions should be flexible.
India have tried a number of options at the No.4 spot in ODIs since the 2015 World Cup. The likes of Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik and many others in the recent times, but they are yet to find a suitable batsman for the crucial middle-order position. Ambati Rayudu is the recent name in the No.4 conundrum for India. After a magnificent run in IPL 2018, he was recalled into the national team for the 2018 Asia Cup. He has played a couple of sensational innings against the Windies and New Zealand till now.
However, Rayudu had a dismal run with the bat in the first three matches of the ongoing ODI series against Australia after which he was subsequently dropped.
“It’s nonsense, all this debate. Batting positions are flexible. Every number, be it opening or No. 11, is important,” quoted Sandeep Patil.
Patil mentions some choices for No.4 spot
Patil further mentioned that he has always backed MS Dhoni to take up the much-debated number four position. He also hinted out the possibility of Virat Kohli batting at the spot. Patil noted that even the likes of Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav are the options who can bat at four.
“Dhoni has batted at No. 4. When I was the chairman, he was always my No. 4 choice, while he said he was No. 6. I told have told him many times that he should bat No.4. Who knows what will happen. Even Virat (Kohli) can bat at 4,” Patil added.
Just a few months ago, Indian team head coach Ravi Shastri mentioned that Virat Kohli could bat at the No 4 slot in case the situation demands so in the upcoming 2019 World Cup.
“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),” said Ravi Shastri.