Ganguly: Kohli should bat at number four in ODIs

Since the tour of Sri Lanka in July-August 2017, India have tried as many as six different batsmen at the number four position. However, Ganguly feels Kohli is the best bet for the crucial slot.

Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly feels that Virat Kohli should bat at the No.4 position.   -  Getty Images

Former skipper Sourav Ganguly has advised Virat Kohli to bat at crucial No.4 position to provide solidity to the India’s batting line-up in the three-match ODI series against England, starting here on Thursday.

Since the tour of Sri Lanka in July-August 2017, India have tried as many as six different batsmen — K.L. Rahul, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik and Ajinkya Rahane — at the position but Ganguly feels Kohli is the best bet for the crucial slot.

If you look at this T20I series, I think they have formed the proper batting line-up. With Rahul at No. 3, and Virat Kohli batting at No.4, I think the problem has been sorted out. And I firmly believe it is the right thing to do in the ODI format as well,” Ganguly said after the UK launch of his book A Century is Not Enough on Monday night.

“I think that’s what Kohli is going to do (in the upcoming series) as well, the former skipper opined.

Weak link

Ganguly was of the opinion that England lack firepower in its bowling line-up, which will give the visitors an edge in the ODIs.

“England is a good side. A very good batting unit but bowling is the weaker part of its game. The way India won (easily) in Bristol when chasing 200 (in a T20 game), it will fancy its chances against this English bowling line-up in the ODI series,” he said.

He, however, cautioned Kohli and Co. against taking England lightly in the long series.

“Off late, the Indian team has been doing well in T20Is. I have enjoyed their performance in this England series as well. But they have to be mindful that it is only the start of a long summer with ODIs and five Tests to follow,” Ganguly said.

“They have set the tone for the latter contests with this win, but different formats will present different challenges for them. They should also know that they are a good unit and they can do well here.”

Asked about India’s strengths ahead of what should be another keenly contested series between both the sides, Ganguly said, “at the moment, India is a very good and well-rounded limited-overs side.

“A lot of good Indian sides have been tested in England and some of the better ones have done well here and won before. I think this Indian team can be like that, they can definitely win here this summer, definitely the ODIs and possibly the Tests too.

Talented unit

Ganguly rated India as one of the most talented batting units in the game at present. “It is one of the most talented batting units in limited-overs’ in world cricket at the moment. The top-order is brilliant with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, and if they continue to score more runs at the top, they can challenge my partnership records with Sachin Tendulkar soon.

“Rohit, in particular, is a terrific player in the limited overs’ arena and will probably end up as one of the greats in white-ball cricket,” he said.

The former captain was also mighty impressed with wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav’s showing on this UK trip so far.

“Conditions in England can vary vastly from wicket to wicket and so every game is a different challenge. You need wicket-taking spinners on these English wickets even as they change from game to game. Kuldeep is already in the Test squad when playing at home, but he should be in the first-eleven for all formats for the Indian team,” Ganguly signed off.

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