Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden was surprised to see India opener Virat Kohli coming out to bat at No.4 in the first ODI against Australia at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday. The in-form batsman came out after KL Rahul fell but could manage only 16 off 14 balls with one six. Earlier, Australia skipper Aaron Finch won the toss and asked the hosts to bat first. India’s middle-order woes saw them getting all out for 255 in 49.1 overs and the visitors were off to a flyer in response.
For India, limited-over vice-captain Rohit Sharma returned to the squad and playing XI after the break in the T20I series against Sri Lanka that India won 2-0. His old partner Shikhar Dhawan also came back among the runs and opened the innings with him. While Rohit scored only 10, Dhawan made 74 and Rahul scored 47. The duo added 121 runs in less than 23 overs to take India to a strong position but they could not capitalise on that and lost seven wickets for less than 100 runs.
Kohli came one position down to not to disturb the good forms of Dhawan and Rahul but after both the set batsmen returned in a span of six runs, it was on the captain to steer India through. But he gave a return catch to his nemesis Adam Zampa who has dismissed him six times now (only England’s Graeme Swann — eight times — and Australia’s Nathan Lyon — seven — have dismissed Kohli more number of times across formats).
Kohli had just hit the spinner for a six but was dismissed brilliantly as the bowler took a sharp catch. Kohli said on the eve of the game that he is not insecure where he gets to bat for India.
Matthew Hayden rules out any debate on Virat Kohli’s batting position
But Hayden was not convinced. “You’ve got someone like Virat Kohli that has played 230-odd one-day matches and 180 of those have been at No.3 and he has scored almost 10,000 runs at that particular position,” the former southpaw was quoted as saying by FoxSports.com. “Why is there even any debate about it? He should just be batting No.3,” he added.
To speak of statistics, Virat Kohli has played 39 matches and as many innings to score 1,797 runs at an impressive average of 55 plus. But at No.3, he has played 180 matches and innings to make 9,509 runs at a far better average of 63 plus. While he has made seven tons at No.4, his tally of hundreds at No.3 is 36. In Tests, however, Kohli is a more accomplished batsman at No.4.
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