Believe it or not, post the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup India has tried as many as dozen batsmen for the number four spot in the batting order. Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey and KL Rahul took turns at the spot in an attempt to cement their place in the team.
However, going into the 2019 Cricket World Cup, there still was ambiguity on who will follow Virat Kohli in the batting order. At one point of time, it was clear that Rayudu was at the forefront as even Kohli had publically backed him to be the solution to the team’s middle order woes.
Fans were taken into surprise when the selectors ended up going ahead with Vijay Shankar, who till date has never batted at number four in international cricket. Uncertainty still loomed with the inclusion of Rahul and Karthik in the squad as well as to who will win the race for the vacant spot.
With Shankar and Karthik not making the most of the opportunities they were handed during the Warmup matches, it seems clear at the moment that it is Rahul who has outshone his competition with a stupendous 108 against Bangladesh in India’s final Warmup match.
The character that the Karnataka batsman displayed was commended across the cricketing fraternity. With none of the top 3 batsmen converting their starts, it was Rahul who steadied India’s ship with a stellar partnership with MS Dhoni.
With the new format being introduced this time, it seems Kohli will look to start with Rahul in the side considering the confidence he gained post his century. Though, it would not be easy for him to maintain his place in the side as the team has services available of Shankar and Karthik to replace him if he is not consistent in the considerably long tournament.