One of the reasons behind India’s crushing loss against Australia in the first ODI was their decision to alter the batting order. India skipper Virat Kohli decided to sacrifice his preferred number three spot in order to accommodate both Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul at the top of the order. However, the move did not pay off as the hosts suffered a middle-order collapse and eventually went on to lose the game.
Despite Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul sharing a 121-run stand for the second wicket, India failed to score big and were all out for just 255. Virat Kohli, who came out to bat at number four, just could not set the platform for his pinch-hitters to finish the innings strongly. The skipper was out for just 16.
In reply, Australia chased down the total inside 38 overs without losing a single wicket as both of their openers David Warner and Aaron Finch scored centuries. After the game ended, Sanjay Manjrekar asked Virat Kohli about his new batting position at the post-match presentation ceremony.
In reply, the world number one ODI batsman started by saying that promoting Rahul at number three was not an instant decision before admitting that him batting at number four has not worked out so far. “We’ve had this discussion many times in the past as well, due to the way KL has been batting. We’ve tried to fit him into the team.
“Having said that, it hasn’t gone our way when I have batted at no.4, so we have to see how it goes. At the same time, it’s about giving opportunities to the other guys. People need not panic for just this one game. I think I am allowed to experiment a bit,” said Virat Kohli.
VVS Laxman unimpressed
Former India batsman VVS Laxman was also unimpressed with Virat Kohli’s new batting position and explained why it won’t work for the batting star. While Kohli’s record at number three is undeniably stunning, the same cannot be said when he bats at number four. In recent times, the Indian captain hasn’t had a lot of success at that position as he hasn’t scored more than 20 even once in his last 7 outings – 9, 4, 3*, 11, 12, 7, 16.
“Especially in a 3-match series. You have to have your best game plan, the best strategy in the 1st match. But I don’t see this working. Virat Kohli is a world-class player. Sachin Tendulkar was the best player world cricket has seen. Sachin never ever relished batting at No. 4. You want your best batsman to play the maximum number of deliveries. You want your best batsman to set the game up and finish the game, especially against a quality attack,” VVS Laxman told Star Sports.
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