ICC World Cup 2019: The No. 4 position continues to be India's biggest headache
In just a few months from now, Team India will embark on their journey to compete against the entire world and try to win the most prestigious tournament in world cricket - the ICC World Cup 2019. Today, the Indian team looks rock solid and fully geared up for the tournament.
In the past couple of years, they seem to have everything going their way barring a few hiccups every once in a while. Along the way, they have successfully managed to build a very well-balanced side that covers every base for the very important tournament - every base except one, that is.
Unfortunately, despite a lot of effort, Team India has not managed to address a simple issue that has now transformed into their biggest puzzle - the No. 4 slot.
The team has an excellent top order - 'Hit-man' Rohit Sharma, 'Gabbar' Shikhar Dhawan and 'King' Virat Kohli have been in staggering form in the recent past and have successfully carried the innings on their shoulders on most occasions. However, every time the top-order has failed to deliver, the middle-order has not been able to rise up to the occasion - which has resulted in a loss more often than not.
Since the last ICC World Cup in 2015, India has consistently experimented with almost every possible option by throwing various players at the No. 4 spot. The old warhorse Yuvraj Singh, India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, the very experienced Dinesh Karthik, the new generation KL Rahul, Manoj Tiwary, Manish Pandey and even the legend MS Dhoni have all been tried at the position.
And yet, here we stand today, without an answer. Though every player has the batting ability, they have either been unable perform at No. 4 or have just not been consistent enough to be persisted with.
After trying all the possible options, in July 2018 India brought back a highly experienced player from the domestic circuit, Ambati Rayudu, after a long gap of 3 years. Though Rayudu has not really set the world on fire to solve the puzzle, he has performed decently enough to reserve himself a boarding pass to England this summer.
Having said that, Team India still does not appear certain about the player for their No. 4 slot at the ICC World Cup 2019. With just a few ODIs and an IPL remaining, it is high time Kohli finalizes the issue by choice or by force.
If he doesn't do that, we might just get to watch a game of musical chairs amongst the players for the hot seat.