Thursday, February 29, 2024

Virat Kohli over Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul? What cricketing legends suggest for India’s success at ICC Cricket World Cup

India’s performance in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup hinges on Virat Kohli’s leadership and batting prowess, former cricket legends believe. 

Former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Rashid Latif emphasised that the team’s need for stability, expressing concerns about batting order changes and the return of injured players like Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul. Meanwhile, Ravi Shastri, former India coach, suggested placing Kohli at number four, addressing the team’s unsettled middle-order concerns.

In an interview with a Youtube Channel on Wednesday, Latif said “Indian team management has experimented with several players and if I talk about their batting, the middle and lower order — from numbers 4 to 7 — they just have not allowed any new player to settle down. There have been too many changes.” 

Currently, selectors and team management are anxious about key players’ fitness: Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, sidelined due to injuries. Jasprit Bumrah, pace spearhead, returns after injury for T20Is against Ireland, but his involvement in a major event remains uncertain.

“I would say it is risky because KL and Iyer are returning from injuries,” he added.

‘Virat Kohli would be the solution’

Providing a possible solution for the middle order batting problem, Ravi Shastri said, fielding Virat Kohli at number four could address India’s long-standing concerns about a settled batter at that crucial position.

“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,” Shastri told Star Sports channel.

“You know, because if we lose two or three at the top, we are gone and it was proved,” he said adding, “If you look at Virat Kohli’s record, he is good enough at number four.”

Latif went on to add, “If they had allowed Virat Kohli to continue as captain, India would have been 100 per cent prepared for the World Cup by this time.”

Kohli has amassed the lion’s share of his 12,898 runs, which include 39 hundreds, batting at number three in 212 of his 275 innings. In his 42 appearances at number four, Kohli averaged 55.21, slightly below his overall 57.32, and has scored seven hundreds.

(With agency inputs)

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Updated: 17 Aug 2023, 01:02 PM IST

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