In the lead-up to the much-anticipated clash between India and Pakistan, cricketing legends Ravi Shastri, Wasim Akram, and Matthew Hayden found themselves in a serious debate. The topic of discussion? Virat Kohli‘s batting position, a crucial element in India’s strategy as they gear up for the impending World Cup.
With KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar Yadav vying for spots in the middle-order, India faces the need to establish a formidable lineup. While Akram and Hayden had their theories, it was former India coach Ravi Shastri who delivered a decisive verdict, cutting short what seemed like a prolonged deliberation.
Here’s how the conversation panned out:
Akram: “Do you mean to say Kohli should bat at No.3?”
Hayden: “Ideally, since KL Rahul is missing the first two games.”
Akram: “Our captain, Imran Khan, firmly believed that your best batter should play the most deliveries.”
Hayden: “Why mess with a winning formula?” If you’re there and want to solidify your lineup immediately before the World Cup, I wouldn’t second-guess Virat Kohli at this point in his career. For example, Ishan Kishan: I will make this young kid in the locker room earn his stripes as well. Back home, he has some rivalry as well. I believe they overlooked a couple of players who should have been there. There is no KL Rahul in that locker room. He should feel a little uneasy rather than simply taking over at No. 3.”
Shastri: “To be honest, it’s a no-brainer – this Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul… They play when KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer are involved. Automatic. So the fact that he isn’t playing two games but is still in the mix indicates that he is nearly 100 percent, Rahul. And, in my opinion, India is a better team with Rahul as a keeper and in the middle order. When that happens and Shreyas is there, it’s a straightforward Indian batting lineup with Rohit and Shubman Gill as openers and Virat at number three. It’s when you’re injured. If one of these men gets hurt, you need to be flexible and move Ishan Kishan up because if there is a wicketkeeping injury, he can fill in. It’s a no-brainer.”
In the Hindi broadcast, Shastri reinforced his position. He said that neither Rahul nor Iyer needed to prove their worth in the Indian team.
“The presence of KL Rahul here indicates that he will play in the future.” Not today, but when he’s in shape. KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer thodi jhakk maar rahe the. “They weren’t just wasting their time the last couple of years, they were playing and scoring,” he remarked.