MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli at No 4 in World Cup? Anil Kumble, Ravi Shastri differ

first_imgVirat Kohli or MS Dhoni for India at No.4 in the World Cup? India have been grappling with middle-order problems for the past couple of years and coach Ravi Shastri believes his team can find the much needed balance if Virat Kohli bats at No.4 in the World Cup.Over the last decade, Kohli has scored 39 ODI hundreds in his career. As many as 32 of those hundreds came batting at No.3. Virat Kohli does not have a bad record at No 4 either: he has scored 1929 runs when batting at that position including seven hundreds.India have dominated the on-day format for the last two years because of the way the top-three – Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli – have played. Last year, Kohli was the leading run-scorer in ODIs followed by Rohit Sharma. Between Rohit and Kohli, the two scored 11 ODI hundreds in 2018.It is the middle-order from nos 4 to 6, that has given India cause for concern over. Recenly, the likes of Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav have sought to solve the middle-order riddle. MS Dhoni’s return to form has also given India a boost. But Shastri indicated India might try out Kohli at No.4 in the World Cup to seek more solidity.”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).advertisement”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)? Shastri told Criccbuzz.However, Anil Kumble who was replaced by Ravi Shastri as India coach after his infamous fall-out with Kohli during the 2017 Champions Trophy, said in a separate interview, that he thought MS Dhoni should bat up the order at No 4. In Australia, Dhoni hit three successive fifties to win India their first bilateral series in that country.”I think he also understands the game better than anyone else. I mean he understands that because he has played the game for that long and he has won matches from those situations so the only challenge is if he does that for a longer period of time and then gets out. I think in Australia in one of those games he did that and he got out in his fifties, and there was a bit of an iffy decision as well. I mean he knows his game really well and if he takes his time, he will definitely make sure that he bats at least to the end of the 40th over. So yes, there will be some ifs and buts, I think he knows he is always in control of what he is doing.”I would still push him up at four. I know Rayudu has done exceptionally well at four but I would still push him at four and give him the freedom of just go out there and play really quick not necessarily look to consolidate unless there is an issue of top three batting till the 30th over or the 35th over then you could look to use the other batsman who can just go in and play your shots but otherwise I would rather have him at four,” Kumble told CricketNext.Also Read | Virat Kohli leads from the front like Imran Khan, says Abdul QadirAlso Read | India, England hot favourites for 2019 World Cup: Shane WarneAlso Read | It would be crazy not to include Steve Smith and David Warner in World Cup squad: LangerAlso Read | Pant should play 2019 World Cup, New Zealand T20Is great opportunity for him: Harbhajanlast_img

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