Virat Kohli can dictate terms to the opposition at No.4: Vivian Richards
India’s star batsman Virat Kohli has failed to get going as yet in the ongoing tri-series involving Australia and England, with scores of 9 and 4 in India’s two defeats against Australia and England at Melbourne and Brisbane, respectively. Kohli’s twin failures have come while batting at No.4, a position he has batted at in only 37 of his 148 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) for India. In contrast, 93 matches have come while batting at No.3. Consequently, there have been growing calls for the 26-year-old to be restored back to the position where he has enjoyed immense success as an ODI player.
Kohli had batted at No.4 also during the home series against Sri Lanka in November when he was deputizing for MS Dhoni as captain, but that seemed to be just a short-term move in order to give Ambati Rayudu a chance to bat up the order and cement his place in the squad ahead of the World Cup.
Former West Indies batting great Sir Vivian Richards, however, has said that Kohli would be better off continuing at No.4 as it gives him a greater opportunity to control the tempo of an ODI innings.
"I believe number four is quite a good position for any good batsman," said Richards.
"On these bouncy Australian wickets, there will always be some batsmen who are going to get outdone by that, especially early in the order. It makes sense to have Virat Kohli bat at number four in such a scenario then because he can dictate terms whatever situation the match is in."
Citing the bowler-friendly conditions expected in Australia and New Zealand during the World Cup, the 62-year-old further explained: "In Australia and New Zealand you can lose wickets quickly and with Virat at three, he might be vulnerable. Coming in at number four, he will have a better perspective of the innings going forward. Whether batting first or chasing, he will know the requirements and bat accordingly.
"There are always some people who say that your best player should come in at number three. But it is tough to say these things from the outside and you don't know the team situation and you have to consider the conditions as well that are also an obvious factor here.”