ICC World Cup 2019: 3 Players who should bat at No. 4 instead of Ambati Rayudu

With just three games to go, it seems like the No. 4 conundrum is far from solved for India.

Ambati Rayudu of India
Ambati Rayudu. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The World Cup is just around the corner and understandably all the buzz is surrounding the showpiece event slated to take place in England and Wales. India have had a great run in ODI cricket as they’ve won almost every series (barring the one in England) in the last three years.

However, if one has to single out one chink in India’s armour, it has to be the No. 4 slot. It has been a long-standing problem for the ‘Men in Blue’. As many as 11 players have been tried at that slot but none of them have cemented their spot. Ambati Rayudu has been the designated No. 4 for a while now. However, after the series against Windies at home, he has blown hot and cold.

In 2019, he has an average of 35.00 (245 runs in 9 innings) and a strike-rate of 76.56. The only innings he shined was against New Zealand in the fifth ODI when he scored 90 after India were reduced to 18/4. However, the 33-year-old Hyderabad batsman has the tendency to play a few dot balls and has invariably found himself back in the dressing room when he tries to release the pressure.

Thus, with just three games to go, it seems like the No. 4 conundrum is far from solved for India. Hence, we look at three players who can and should bat at No. 4 in the upcoming World Cup.

Here are three players who should bat at No. 4 for India.

Vijay Shankar

Vijay Shankar
Vijay Shankar. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Hardik Pandya’s misfortunes have meant that Vijay Shankar has shot into the limelight. The Tamil Nadu all-rounder made his debut in the third ODI against Australia in Melbourne earlier this year. He played a few more ODIs in New Zealand as he tried to impress the selectors. While he didn’t get a chance with the bat in his first few ODIs, he bowled economically. But when he got his opportunity with the bat, he ensured he impressed everyone.

He walked out to bat for the first time in ODI cricket when India were reeling at 18/4 (fifth ODI in New Zealand). Shankar scored a composed 45 and put India back on track in that game. His second ODI innings came in the second match in Nagpur and once again, he was impressive. He struck a fluent 41-ball 46 as he helped India recover from 75/3 and stitched a quality partnership with skipper Virat Kohli.

Both times Shankar has batted, he’s been run out. Hence, he hasn’t got the opportunity to kick on and get a big score. But he has shown that he has the temperament to bat higher up the order and soak in that pressure when needed. He can also strike the ball well and can change gears according to the game situation. The 28-year-old fast bowling all-rounder can also chip in with some useful overs. Thus, Shankar seems a very good option at No. 4.

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