‘No. 4,5 are floating batting positions’

Port of Spain: Changing the order of play in position four and five have changed the approach of the batsmen in the middle-order, but this does not call for debate as to the Indian skipper Virat Kohli beliefs that the four and five spots need the shuffling in this format of the game.

There have been frequent changes in this position since the ICC World Cup 2015, India has tried more than a dozen or so players in their search for an ideal No. 4 but the position yet to be nailed down.

The search started with trying Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh and has now come down to Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey.

India's middle-order weakness was exposed in the World Cup 2019 as well, particularly in the semi-final against New Zealand where the top-order failed to perform for the first time in the showpiece event.

However, Virat Kohli said the No.4 position is not a concern for them as the shorter format games in cricket are more about having a fixed top-order and specialist No. 4 and No. 7 batsmen.

"We are backing Rishabh to still bat at four and Shreyas Iyer will bat at five. Four and five are more like floating batting position for us, according to the situation of the game anyone can bat anywhere," Virat Kohli said at the time of toss for the 2nd ODI between India and West Indies.

"For me, top-three and probably six and seven are specialist batting positions than four and five. I think, it has become a topic of debate for a long time. In ODI's and T20s, four and five are your flexible guys," Kohli added.

KL Rahul had started at No. 4 in the World Cup after hitting a hundred while batting at the position in one of the warm-up games but was moved up after Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the tournament due to a thumb injury.

India then called Rishabh Pant to bat at no. 4 and have continued with the left-handed batsman in the ongoing series against West Indies.

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