Vengsarkar bats for K.L. Rahul at No 4

Former India cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar is confident that Virat Kohli’s men will have a smooth ride to the semifinals in World Cup 2019.

India batsman K.L. Rahul in action against Australia in the limited-overs series in February.   -  FILE PHOTO/ K. MURALI KUMAR

 

Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar feels trying out K.L. Rahul at No. 4 is an option India can explore in the World Cup since he has the technique and temperament to succeed in English conditions.

One of Indian cricket’s best chairmen of selectors, the ‘Colonel’ is confident that Virat Kohli’s men will have a smooth ride to the semifinals and can take it from there on.

The No. 4 position has been a bone of contention after Ambati Rayudu failed to make the cut despite being given an extended run in the run up to the tournament.

READ| How did India's World Cup 15 perform in IPL

“We have a settled opening pair in Shikhar (Dhawan) and Rohit (Sharma). Kohli is phenomenal at No 3. I feel that Rahul could be an option at No 4. He has the technique and can complement the top three well. I believe No 4 should be a specialist batsman,” said Vengsarkar.

Even though the pitches are expected to be flat during the showpiece event, Vengsarkar, who played three World Cups (1979, 1983, 1987) with two in England, felt that Rahul’s technique provides him an advantage.

“Since he is a specialist opener, in case of early wickets, he could provide stability. Also in a long tournament, if required, he can open the innings. I feel that he should be a part of playing XI,” Vengsarkar said about Rahul, who finished second in the IPL run-getter’s list with 593 runs.

ALSO READ| World Cup 2019: Who plays whom and where in the build-up

The 63-year-old opined that the biggest advantage for India will be their experience of playing a full series in the United Kingdom last year.

“In England, the weather can be fickle and that can have an effect on the performance. Adaptability will always be the key. But to Indian team’s advantage, they played in England during the same time last year. We have had an exposure to those conditions and that’s a good thing. We should try and use it to our advantage,” said the member of the victorious 1983 World Cup team.

The veteran of 116 Tests and 129 ODIs is also not worried about Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav’s dip in form during the Australia series.

“I am sure both Chahal and Kuldeep must have worked on their game as to what went wrong against Australia. Once they get there, they must carefully assess the conditions and accordingly devise the strategy,” he said.

As far as the semifinal line-up is concerned, Vengsarkar named India, host England and defending champion Australia as the favourites to reach the last four stage.

“At this moment I can’t predict about the fourth team. India, England and Australia have the team to go all the way,” he added.