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Sanjay Manjrekar reacts to Ravi Shastri’s ‘Virat Kohli can bat at No. 4’ remark ‘He has become the scapeg…

The Asia Cup’s imminent arrival prompted the BCCI selectors, led by Ajit Agarkar, to unveil India’s 17-member squad on Monday (August 23). The continental tournament, jointly hosted by Sri Lanka and Pakistan, is poised to begin on August 30, with India commencing their campaign on September 02 against Pakistan in Pallekele, Sri Lanka. This event is envisaged as an effective dress rehearsal for the forthcoming ODI World Cup, which is slated to commence in India on October 05.

In the lead-up to the 50-over ICC competition, India, under the leadership of Rohit Sharma, is diligently preparing while keeping a close watch on their middle and lower order. A substantial concern looms around the No. 4 batting position. Shreyas Iyer, a strong contender for this spot, is set to make a return to the field after a prolonged injury hiatus since early February. In Iyer’s absence, India experimented with multiple backups like Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar Yadav. However, none could firmly establish themselves in the role of Iyer’s backup, despite Samson’s reasonably promising performance.

Furthermore, KL Rahul, positioned at No. 5, is making his comeback to international cricket after a substantial hiatus, dating back to his hip injury during the latter stages of IPL 2023. Consequently, India faces a substantial task in shoring up their middle order ahead of the World Cup. In this context, former India head coach Ravi Shastri proposed that Virat Kohli should shift down to No. 4.

Speaking on the Star Sports channel, Shastri stated, “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.” He highlighted that during the 2019 World Cup, he contemplated altering Kohli’s position “just to break that top-heavy lineup.”

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

Now, former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has presented his perspective on whether Kohli should assume the No. 4 position in the upcoming World Cup. Engaging in a conversation with Tom Moody on Star Sports, Manjrekar commented, “The more and more you talk about other options like Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli seems to get relegated. He has sort of become the scapegoat in the sense that you bat him at No. 4 and all your problems are solved.”

“There is also a cultural issue in Indian cricket. In the 2007 World Cup, the team management of Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell positioned Tendulkar at No. 4 instead of opening because they had players like Virender Sehwag and others at the top. But that became a massive controversy. Therefore, it really depends on Kohli, an iconic player, whether he wishes to bat at No. 4. It seems like a straightforward solution, but it concerns Kohli,” he added.


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