The debate around India's No 4 at the upcoming World Cup has reached all quarters of the world. The fact that India are one of the favourites in the mega event is no surprise anymore and if there is one chink they need to get rid of, it is that much-talked-about position in the batting line-up, certainly a weak link which many opponents would like to take advantage of.
There were plenty of takers fighting to cement their spot at No 4, including Ambati Rayudu, Vijay Shankar and Rishabh Pant. The Indian selectors picked Shankar, leaving out Rayudu and Pant, in the squad for the tournament in the UK, the uncertainty at No 4 still looms large.
Former Australia pacer Andy Bichel, who was part of the Australian team which clinched the title in 2003, was of the opinion that MS Dhoni should bat at No 4.
"We have seen MS Dhoni bat (at No 4). He is still brilliant. He can bat from No 1 to 6 (in the batting order). Maybe it is his last hurrah so maybe he wants to go at No 4. Vijay Shankar has grown into a wonderful talent in the past few years. Look, there are lots of options and it is a good problem to have. But I would like to see MS go at 4 and take the game away from the opposition. He has done it so many times," said Bichel.
On the other hand, former South Africa captain Kepler Wessels was of the opinion that it is captain Virat Kohli who should bat at No 4 as he can adjust his game accordingly. Also, he feels Kohli will have some issues if the white ball starts moving around early on.
"He (Kohli) can get off to a good start. He can accelerate the tempo when he needs to. If there is any little bit of movement early, you don't want to expose him too early either. So, I think No 4 is best for him."
Wessels, further, picked India, Australia and England as three semi-finalists at the World Cup, while he chose the 'underdog' tag for South Africa. He said that it will be a battle between New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa for the last semi-finals spot.
Picking the right XI crucial
Bichel also said that while India have a pretty balanced unit, it all dwells down to who they pick in the playing XI throughout the tournament depending on the conditions and pitches. The Aussie added that, in England, conditions changes as you travel from one city to the other and adjustment to the weather will be key.
"It is a long tournament. There is no doubt that the three quicks are there. India also have spin options at their helm. That makes them dangerous. (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Shami and Bhuvneshwar (Kumar)are going to explore those conditions at some stage. They are a world-class team that can win. They have Virat Kohli who leads in the Ricky Ponting style of captaincy and there is calmness of MS Dhoni as well. But they still have to make the right choices throughout the tournament. Ravi Shastri has seen these boys grow in front of him and he will have to take those decisions."
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