Ravi Shastri and other cricket stars have reacted to the recent BCCI selectors’ squad for Asia Cup 2023. The BCCI selection committee led by former cricketer Ajit Agarkar published a list of seventeen (17) players ahead of the tournament in Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
India will kick off their campaign on September 2, 2023 against Pakistan. The game in Pallekele, Sri Lanka will bring much attention to the long-running rivalry, and ex-cricketers like Ravi Shastri continue to recommend players for the No. 4 bat position.
What Does Ravi Shastri Recommend to Solve India’s No. 4 Problem?
Ravi Shastri suggests that Team India should play Virat Kohli in the middle-order position at Asia Cup 2023 to end their no. 4 worries. The no. 4 batting position has been a source of concern for Team India ahead of two major tournaments this year.
Team India has been without the services of seasoned middle-order batters for some time after Shreyas Iyer’s injury. A months-long injury has seen India struggle in the no.4 position against determined opposition bowlers. Shastri has this to say about India’s no. 4 problem:
“If Virat has to bat at four, he will bat at four in the interest of the side. You know, there were times I thought of it.” He also added that during the ICC ODI World Cup 2019, he considered moving Kohli’s position “just to break that top heavy line-up“.
Shastri also added:
“You know, because if we lose two or three at the top, we are gone and it was proved. If you look at Virat Kohli’s record, he is good enough at number four.”
Sanjay Manjrekar Doesn’t Agree with Shastri’s Solution to India’s No. 4 Problem
Manjrekar took apart Shastri’s submission about Kohli as a perfect no. 4 batter in his responses to the ex-cricketer’s comments:
“The more and more you talk about other options like Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli seems to get relegated. He has sort of become the scapegoat in the sense that you bat him at No. 4 and all your problems are solved.”
“There is also a cultural issue in Indian cricket. In 2007 World Cup when the team management of Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell sent Tendulkar at No. 4 instead of opening because they had people like Virender Sehwag and others at the top of the order. But that became a huge controversy. So, it is really up to Kohli, an iconic player, on whether he wants to bat at No.4. It seems like a perfectly simple solution, but it concerns Kohli,”
Why Does Manjrekar Believe Kohli is Not the Best No. 4 Option for India?
Virat Kohli has been a part of 265 ODI innings and has played as a no. 3 batter on 210 (79.2%) occasions. Inexperience in the no. 4 position may be a major reason why Manjrekar thinks Kohli is not a perfect fit for that middle-order role.
Who are the Contenders for No. 4 in Team India at Asia Cup 2023?
Shreyas Iyer looks set to feature in India’s squad at the Asia Cup 2023. He recently passed several fitness tests in training and has received the green light from chief selector Ajit Agarkar. Iyer’s promising gameplay in the no. 4 batting position could solve India’s recent woes in that area.
A BCCI official had this to say about Iyer’s recent performances in rehab:
“He smashed the bowlers at the National Cricket Academy, scoring 199 in a practice tie. To provide the selectors with more evidence of his fitness, he then fielded for the entire 50 overs of that match, which was held at the Just Cricket Academy in Bangalore 3-4 days back,“
However, fans are skeptical about Iyer’s long-term contribution in that position seeing that he’s been sidelined for many months now.
KL Rahul is another name likely to enter into the no. 4 conversation as India look for backup options to Iyer. Rahul and Iyer went on rehab together to recover from injuries sustained in active gameplay. KL Rahul is an expert in the no. 5 position, but many commentators believe he could offer much as a middle-order replacement batter.
Replacement player Sanju Samson has held down the middle-order batting position in several games for Team India. The team tried out different alternatives during Iyer’s absence and Samson ended up being most consistent.
Selectors have his name on the final list and he could be called upon in any emergency if Iyer, Rahul, or any other player experience issues before or during gameplay.