The moment I sat down to write this article, I too was like OHH GOD NOT AGAIN!!! The entire nation has been having this conversation for way too long. And now, we are in the latter half of the world cup and we are still having the same conversation. Who should be India’s No. 4? India has had the No. 4 dilemma for quite a long time now. They had this dilemma even while entering this tournament and then KL Rahul stepped up and showed everyone that he can bat at No. 4. And for a moment, everything was perfect.
But India’s relief was short lived as the man of ICC tournaments, Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the world cup due to a hairline fracture in the thumb. Which then meant KL Rahul was forced to take up the role of the opening batsman with Rohit Sharma, leaving the No. 4 position vacant once again.
India had three options that time goes with. They were: Vijay Shankar, Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant. India chose to put their faith in all-rounder, Vijay Shankar because he can give those handy 2-3 overs, if needed. Which proved to be immensely useful in the game against Pakistan, where Bhuvneshwar Kumar got injured and he bowled in his place and got 2 wickets. No doubt, his ability with the ball can be useful, occasionally, BUT, more importantly, he has to bat and he has to bat like a proper batsman.
Vijay Shankar has now played 3 games in this world cup and is yet to make some impact with the bat. And his stats in ODI format are not impressive as well. It will not be wrong to say that there is a big question mark about his space in the playing XI. But the question that the team India should be asking is- Do they need someone who is yet to score an ODI half-century in their middle order?
Now, what can India do about this? I think they can bring in Dinesh Karthik into the squad. Dhoni can move to No. 4, which would allow him to take his time at the start and accelerate later on. Then Kedar Jadhav comes at no. 5 and then Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik can come at 6 and 7 and finish games for India. Dinesh Karthik is a more suitable choice, because, he has enough experience, in comparison to Vijay Shankar or Rishabh Pant. And more importantly, he has won games for India. He knows how to play under pressure and the world cup is a pressure tournament. And when semis and the finals come, it’s going to be more of a game of pressure than the game of skill.
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