In just a few days from now, Men In Blue will embark on their journey to conquer the cricketing world and lift the prestigious Cricket World Cup trophy. Though Team India appears to be a well-balanced side with their explosive top order and lethal bowling attack, they still carry a chink in their armor – the number four slot.
Over the past few years, the team management have been trying to address the issue and in the process have experimented with almost every player available in the domestic circuit for the invaluable position but unfortunately, no one could transform their potential into meaningful performances when it mattered.
And just when, Ambati Rayudu looked somewhat certain for the slot, to everyone’s surprise, MSK Prasad led selection committee dropped out-of-form veteran and announced the inexperienced Vijay Shankar in the squad for his "three-dimensional" ability. Yet, on a match day, though selected as a back-up opener, the think tank may just opt for KL Rahul considering the superlative form, he showed in the recently concluded IPL; where he scored 593 runs at an average of 53.90.
Having said that, Team India has a great opportunity to surprise the cricketing world by promoting Hardik Pandya to number four. At this very moment, he looks in an ominous touch with the bat and playing up the order will enable him to capitalize on his marvelous form. Not only that, he could very well resolve India’s problem of a slow run rate during middle overs with his aggressive batting. A quick fiery knock of 40-50 runs would lay the ideal platform for the finishers like MS Dhoni to finish the innings in style.
Moreover, it will allow Team India to play both Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal without any hesitation and include another proper all-rounder in Ravindra Jadeja to strengthen the team in every aspect.
Without a doubt, playing Hardik Pandya at number four sounds unconventional idea but it is certainly worth a risk. At the biggest stage of all, such decisions can make all the difference.
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