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Team India went into the 2019 World Cup as favorites despite the tournament being held in foreign soil, such was the domination of India in the International level. Going into the tournament the Men in Blue looked well intact to win the title after finishing at the top of the table after the group stage. The semi-final began on a high for Virat Kohli and Co. where they restricted the Kiwis to 240, which seemed a very chase-able score given the potential of Indian line-up.

Though the chase did not go as per plans for India. With the top order failing miserably, the inexperienced middle-order was put to test, but the pressure was too much for them to handle. It was then all left to the now former Indian Captain MS Dhoni and his Chennai Super Kings teammate Ravindra Jadeja to take the team over the line.

Things did look bright for India suddenly when the pair put on 116 runs. But the game was all over when Dhoni was dismissed while attempting to take the second run. The Indians ended up on the losing side by a difference of 18 runs.

Various reasoning have been put forward to the loss by the management and the team officials. But former Indian Batsman Sunil Gavaskar feels it was the inability of the management to spot the proper No.4 for Team India that cost them the game and title shot.

“What we need to look at is to have somebody at 4, 5 and 6 who are very good batsmen, who would otherwise bat at the top but because 1, 2 and 3 are occupied they are batting in the middle-order. We made a mistake by not having a proper No. 4 at the 2019 World Cup. If we had had a proper No. 4 for the World Cup then it might have been a completely different story,” - Sunil Gavaskar said in an interview with India Today.

“India’s top-3 batting lineup is such a fabulous batting lineup that often it has happened that numbers 4 and 5 at the initial stages of the World Cups haven’t got the opportunity to play long innings, to get their eye in. Suddenly when your top-3 are dismissed cheaply, and that can happen in the odd match, unfortunately for India, it has happened in a knockout game and that is where number 4, 5 and 6 haven’t been able to cope with the loss of your earlier prolific batsmen”- added the Former Indian Skipper.

Indian star Batsman Suresh Raina who announced his retirement in the last week along with MS Dhoni also expressed his thoughts about how crucial the No.4 spot was for India in the World Cup and he felt Ambati Rayudu was the right fit. He added that Team India could have also ended up winning the title if Rayudu was given the position.

Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina
Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina (Image Credits: IPLT20)

“He was good at number four. If he was part of the squad for the World Cup, we would have won the tournament. Rayudu was the best choice and as it’s the way he plays the game in the CSK. And he was batting really well in the camp in Chennai,” the 33-year old said in an interview with cricbuzz.

Team India always have had a tough time finding the right No.4 batsman for India. With the T20 World Cup to be played next year, the team would be looking forward to filling the spot with the right player. It is also to be noted that with the number of young talents Team India have now with the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Sanju Samson, Manish Pandey and Rishab Pant, it would not be a difficult task to find the right fix.

Cover Credits: CricketCountry