The long wait is finally over as the Indian squad for the World Cup 2019 was announced yesterday by the BCCI. Cricket fan across the country had been waiting to know their team which would represent the country in the biggest event of this sports in England this summer. The announcement did bring a little surprise to many of the game lovers along with some of the retired cricketers, but to debate now on those points wouldn’t make any difference as the squad has been decided. This blog is mainly focused on how crucial it would be to decide the batting line-up for the Indian team, especially the batsman at the number 4 position.
The number four position is the most interesting slot in the batting line-up in the 50-over format. Depending on how the top order performs, the batsmen must adjust their game – some situations call for defensive play to steady the sinking ship while in others, they have to counter-attack with their aggressive batting. For any batting order to have a settled look to it, it is important that each batsman knows where he is going to bat and what his role in his side is, though there may be a bit of shuffling here and there based on the match situation or to keep the opposition guessing, but a batsman who knows what is expected of him and what his role is, is more likely to go in with an uncluttered mind and perform at his best.
The number 4 batsman in the team must be the most flexible batsman in the team. He may have to walk in at the fall of two early wickets and consolidate like Kohli did in the World Cup Final in 2011. Or, he may come in with the top order having set the innings up and be required to carry the momentum forward or up the ante from the word go like Rahane did against South Africa at the 2015 World Cup. Basically, any team would need a player who has the consistent ability to rotate the strike easily along with the power hitting ability at this number.
The last time India won the world cup in 2011, Virat Kohli batted at this position and he scored 202 runs in 5 of the 9 innings at an average of 40.4.
Ever since then India has tested maximum number of players at this position, 7 different players were tested before the 2015 world cup and finally Ajinkya Rahane batted at number 4 in the world cup 2015, where he scored 208 runs in 7 innings at an average of 34.7. After India’s defeat in the semi finals of 2015, more than 10 batsmen have been tested for this position again before the selection for the world cup squad was announced on 15th April 2019 by the BCCI.
As it would have surprised many followers of this game, Ambati Rayudu’s name was not in the list which means Vijay Shankar would be promoted to bat at number 4 in the world cup. This was also confirmed by the selectors in the press conference. Here is the India’s squad for the world cup 2019 which was announced:
Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), Shikhar Dhawan, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Y Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, B Kumar, J Bumrah, M Shami, R Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik (WK), KL Rahul.
Though Vijay Shankar has not got the opportunity to bat at number 4 for India and showcase his skills, it would be a big platform for him in the world cup. Let’s have a look at his batting stats and the position he has batted so far, below:
Vijay Shankar strikes the ball well and he also has got the big shots hitting abilities. The intent to play the ball straight always gives him a better chance to score the runs. It also would be crucial for the opening pair to perform well. Also, a lot would depend on the bowling unit, specially the fast bowling attack because there may not be a possibility for the team to play more than 1 spinner in a game given the conditions in England.
Wishing all the luck and support to the Men in Blue for the world cup 2019.