Cricket

Wanted to demote Virat Kohli in the last two World Cups: Shastri’s revelation; picks new batting number for Asia Cup

Ravi Shastri said he had thought about demoting Virat Kohli from his preferred No.3 position in order to strengthen India’s middle-order.

Former India head coach Ravi Shastri said he had thought about asking Virat Kohli to bat at No.4 in the last ODI World Cup in 2019 to strengthen the middle-order. Shastri’s comments came while discussing Kohli’s batting order in the current ODI team. Kohli is arguably one of the best-ever No.3 batters in ODIs and he has been batting at that position for India for over a decade now. Kohli has an average of 60 while batting one-down in ODIs and 39 out of 46 centuries have come when he has batted at No.3.

But Shastri feels Kohli can slide down the order if the teams need it in the upcoming Asia Cup and ODI World Cup. The former India all-rounder said Ishan Kishan should be the first-choice keeper and opener and in order to accommodate him, captain Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Kohli should adjust.

Shastri said Rohit can bat anywhere in the top four but it might not be easy for Gill to adjust in the middle-order. Shastri, therefore said Kohli can bat No.4. “Ishan Kishan should bat right at the top of the order. Rohit as a captain is vastly experienced. He can go in at three. he can go at four. This is where you have to see the player’s frame of find. How will Shubman Gill feel if asked to bat No.3 or No.4 as opposed to batting at the top? No one owns a position. If Virat has to bat at four, he will bat at four for the team,” Shastri said on Star Sports.

Shastri then said he had thought about the same move when he was the head coach of Team India during the last edition of the World Cup in England. “There were times when I thought of it even in the previous two World Cups. I might have discussed that with MSK of him batting at four, just to break that top-heavy line-up. If we lost two or three at the top, we were gone. And it was proved so just for breaking that, you need experience,” Shastri.

Former India keeper-batter, MSK Prasad who was the chairman of selectors then, was also present in the discussion. He confirmed Shastri’s story and said the then-head coach had indeed mulled over asking Kohli to bat at No.4. That, however, did not happen as Kohli, who was the captain of the Indian side then, batted at his preferred No.3 slot.

The lack of experience in India’s middle-order was laid bair in the semi-final against New Zealand as Matt Henry, Trent Boult ran through the top-order.

“If you look at Virat Kohli’s record at No.4, it’s quite good,” Shastri said. He is correct. Kohli has the next-best record while batting at No.4. He has an average of 55 in the 39 matches that he has batted at the crucial position and has also scored seven centuries. This is the only position where Kohli has scored an ODI century apart from No.3.

‘Look at Root, Williamson, Smith’: Shastri’s advice to Kohli
While Kohli has been a champion in every sense in 50-over cricket also needs to evolve rather than following the template which has been working for him as the game has changed a lot, feels Shastri. The 1983 World Cup-winning all-rounder gave the examples of Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith to motivate Kohli.

The lack of experience in India’s middle-order was laid bair in the semi-final against New Zealand as Matt Henry, Trent Boult ran through the top-order.

“If you look at Virat Kohli’s record at No.4, it’s quite good,” Shastri said. He is correct. Kohli has the next-best record while batting at No.4. He has an average of 55 in the 39 matches that he has batted at the crucial position and has also scored seven centuries. This is the only position where Kohli has scored an ODI century apart from No.3.

‘Look at Root, Williamson, Smith’: Shastri’s advice to Kohli
While Kohli has been a champion in every sense in 50-over cricket also needs to evolve rather than following the template which has been working for him as the game has changed a lot, feels Shastri. The 1983 World Cup-winning all-rounder gave the examples of Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith to motivate Kohli.

The lack of experience in India’s middle-order was laid bair in the semi-final against New Zealand as Matt Henry, Trent Boult ran through the top-order.

“If you look at Virat Kohli’s record at No.4, it’s quite good,” Shastri said. He is correct. Kohli has the next-best record while batting at No.4. He has an average of 55 in the 39 matches that he has batted at the crucial position and has also scored seven centuries. This is the only position where Kohli has scored an ODI century apart from No.3.

‘Look at Root, Williamson, Smith’: Shastri’s advice to Kohli
While Kohli has been a champion in every sense in 50-over cricket also needs to evolve rather than following the template which has been working for him as the game has changed a lot, feels Shastri. The 1983 World Cup-winning all-rounder gave the examples of Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith to motivate Kohli.

“You’ve got to evolve with the game no matter how big a player you are. The same applies to Virat Kohli. There’s no question about it. You watch around the world, look at players like Joe Root, Steve Smith for that matter Kane Williamson and Kohli himself at certain stages of his career, they all have had to evolve. There are innovations (happening every now and then). There are players who want to up the ante. There’s a different template in place at the moment,” he said.

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