The Great Debate: Why Three Cricket Legends Advocate for Virat Kohli at No. 4 in World Cup 2023
There’s never a dull moment in the world of cricket, especially when it comes to team line-ups. Lately, the spotlight is on Virat Kohli, India’s erstwhile captain, and his potential role as the No. 4 batsman. Kohli has a stellar record at both No. 3 and No. 4, yet some experts argue for a change. Here’s why three former cricket legends believe Kohli should bat at No. 4 in the upcoming World Cup.
Ravi Shastri: The Breaker of Patterns
First on our list is Ravi Shastri, the former head coach of the Indian cricket team. Shastri has a unique take on this debate, rooted in strategy. In a recent chat on Star Sports’ Selection Day show, Shastri expressed concerns about India’s top-heavy batting lineup. According to him, if Kohli bats at No. 4, it would diversify the batting strategy, making India less vulnerable to early losses. Shastri also highlighted Kohli’s solid track record at No. 4, adding credibility to his argument.
Sunil Gavaskar: The Tactician
Next, we have Sunil Gavaskar, another cricket legend who agrees with Shastri but adds a tactical spin. Gavaskar suggests that Kohli’s move to No. 4 could be situational, particularly beneficial in swinging conditions. He told India Today, “If a wicket falls early, the new ball can do some early damage.” Gavaskar pointed out that India has often lost key early wickets, including those of Rohit Sharma and Kohli. According to him, shifting Kohli to No. 4 could act as a shield against such early losses.
AB de Villiers: The Supportive Friend
Finally, AB de Villiers, Kohli’s former teammate and close friend, makes his case with pure optimism. De Villiers believes that Kohli’s versatility could serve India well at No. 4. Speaking on his YouTube channel, de Villiers said, “He can put the innings together, play any kind of role in that middle order.” His argument resonates with the essence of team play; if the team needs you in a specific role, you step up to the plate.
The Statistical Backdrop
It’s worth noting that these opinions don’t come out of the blue. Kohli has an impressive 1767 runs at No. 4, averaging 55.22 from just 39 innings. In contrast, he averages 60.21 at No. 3. Regardless of where you stand in this debate, these numbers offer compelling evidence that Kohli could excel at either position.
The Cultural Angle
Sanjay Manjrekar, another voice in the cricketing world, describes this debate as a “cultural issue.” He recalls how Sachin Tendulkar was moved to No. 4 in the 2007 World Cup to make room for other batters. Manjrekar suggests that Kohli has become the modern-day “scapegoat” in this ever-evolving game of musical chairs.
The Big Picture
Ultimately, this debate is a testament to Kohli’s prowess as a batsman. He’s so good that experts are willing to disrupt a well-established batting order just to accommodate him optimally. But let’s not forget the previous experiments at No. 4, including Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, and Sanju Samson, have not produced consistent results. This inconsistency might make Kohli’s shift to No. 4 a pragmatic decision for Team India.
As India’s Asia Cup campaign is set to begin on September 2 against arch-rivals Pakistan, the timing of this debate couldn’t be more crucial. Whether Kohli bats at No. 3 or 4, one thing is clear: his role will be a defining factor for India’s success or failure in the tournament. And as these legends have pointed out, maybe it’s time for a shake-up. After all, in a game as unpredictable as cricket, flexibility could be the key to victory.