KL Rahul’s brilliant ton against England in the first T20I has relegated Indian skipper Virat Kohli to No 4 in limited-overs cricket. However, Rahul failed to make much of a contribution in the next two T20Is, but India did well to win the T20I series 2-1 thanks to Rohit Sharma‘s ton and Hardik Pandya’s all-round show in the third and deciding match.
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While Kohli made useful contributions of 47 and 43 in last two T20Is, Rahul disappointed with scores of 6, 19 after his brilliant 101* in the first T20I against England.
So, should KL Rahul be continued with No 3 in the three-match ODI series?\
Cricwizz delves into reasons why Kohli should bat at No 3 in limited-overs cricket for India.[ad id=”29091″]
KL Rahul is more an opener than a No 3 batsman
KL Rahul is a specialist opener, but Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are the first-choice and permanent openers and unless one of them gets injured, Rahul has to bat in the middle-order. Kohli sacrificed his No 3 position for Rahul. The KXIP player grabbed his chances with 101* in the first T20I against England. But two straight failures has put another question mark on his position in the line-up, if not his place in the playing XI. Although Rahul is in form, he plays mainly as an opener or can bat at No 3. But unless he is consistent, he might see himself out of the playing XI.
Kohli is successful as No 3 batsman
Kohli has been a great success at No 3 in limited-overs cricket for India. At no 3, skipper Kohli shows great responsibility in leading the team, anchoring the innings in a chase. Kohli stands as rock for India at No 3. And hence, keeping Kohli down to No 4 is robbing him of enough opportunity and overs to steer the game towards India’s way.
England are top team in ODIs
England are the No 1 ranked ODI team in the world. And hence, India need a strong No 3 who can show direction to the innings. It needs a matured and experienced cricketer who can anchor the innings if early wickets falls or build on a big opening stand provided by the openers. The momentum should be continued or regained by No 3 and Kohli is an expert in doing so. Rahul at No 3 is more of a gamble. He can be better suited to No 4 where his job will be to lead the team to the finishing line in company of lower-order batsmen.
Kohli is certain, but Rahul is not
A stable No 3 is important for India’s quest for World Cup glory in 2019. And none better than the Indian skipper in leading from the front in World Cup. Rahul is not certain of his place in limited-overs squad and faces stiff competition from Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik.
Verdict: We believe India should continue with Kohli at No 3 and give Rahul No 4 spot ahead of Suresh Raina. In respect to team’s win, Kohli should bat at No 3.