Who will follow up Rohit, Shikhar and Virat in the Indian team at no.4 spot in World Cup 2019? This is perhaps the most important and difficult question for Indian selectors, who are going to announce the Indian World Cup squad on April 15. While this middle-order position has been a great concern for Indian team in recent time, selectors have not been able to choose a particular batsman for this position. Over the years, many batsman tried to pick that position, but no one has been effectively able to please everyone with his selection.
With no one being able to justify this position even after the Australia and New Zealand series in early 2019, the Indian selectors had to look after IPL 2019 to book that spot. As the IPL 2019 has almost reached its halfway, here is a look at some of the players who can be a worthy batsman to take this spot in India’s World Cup 2019 squad.
Vijay Shankar is one such player who is emerging out to be a great middle-order batsman for Indian team. In Australia and New Zealand series, he played some nice knocks at middle-order position. Even in IPL 2019, he has been great while playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad as a middle order batsman. However, he had many times failed to take matches to winning ends and he also loses his wickets at crucial moments which is a great concern.
KL Rahul seems to be the best player to fill the no.4 position. The way he is playing for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2019 reveals why he should bag the no. 4 position in the Indian team in World Cup 2019. Rahul has been backbone of KXIP and has smashed 3 half centuries in 7 matches so far, along with a century in last match. Moreover, he also fulfills the criteria of back-up wicketkeeper, therefore putting him in the 4th position would be an added advantage.
Ajinkya Rahane has a great technique of batting and he has been proven great in the national team in the past. Starting with T20s, his slow batting style made him rather a Test player. In IPL 2019, he has been a great backbone to his team Rajasthan Royals as a skipper. He has played some nice opening stands with Jos Buttler, and if selectors look for an experienced player to fill in no.4 position, Rahane can be worth a call.
After smashing a century on his debut Test match, Prithvi Shaw impressed every Indian fan. In IPL 2019, he almost hit a century while playing for Delhi Capitals when he hit 99 runs against Kolkata Knight Riders. He is gifted to play technical shots and the patience he shows while batting, he can be an option to fill the no.4 spot.
Ambati Rayudu got credits for taking up the no.4 position after a 93-run knock in an ODI against New Zealand in 2019, when Indian team suffered a batting fallout at oepning. However, he failed to prove his worth in many matches later and was eventually dropped from the matches as well. In CSK, he has not been able to come to limelight in IPL 2019 with his form but in a recent match, he played a partnership of more than 100 with MS Dhoni, when CSK had a top-order collapse at 24-4. Since he plays an important role in middle-order when team needs it, he can take up the no.4 spot as well in World Cup.
‘Old is Gold’- this phrase correctly applies to Suresh Raina, who has been a former national player in Indian team. Raina played his last ODI in July 2018, and has been out of the national squad since then. The way he is backing Chennai Super Kings is remarkable, and with his temperament in batting, he can be a choice for no.4. His selection, however, is unlikely as he is out of the team for quite a long time.
While Sanju Samson is far more out of sight when talking about national team, he recently played a knock of hundred in IPL 2019 which makes him an option for no.4 position in World Cup 2019. Samson is supporting Rajasthan Royals well on the no.4 spot and his abilities can be fruitful for his selection in World Cup as well.
The Delhi Capitals skipper is a consistent domestic batsman. His team has been average till now in IPL 2019, winning 4 matches out of 7. But he has played well with 221 runs in 7 matches so far. He is a trustworthy player for DC and with some international experience, he is not a bad option to fill in the no. 4 position.
Nitish Rana emerged as a promising talent for Kolkata Knight Riders this season. With his long-hitting ability, he has given quickfire starts to KKR batting in few IPL ties. He was also handed orange cap during the start of the tournament, as he became the leading run scorer. He has also hit two fifties for KKR in IPL 2019 so far.
If we look for a reliable player in Kings XI Punjab other than KL Rahul in batting, it is surely Mayank Agarwal. Agarwal has shown a great class while batting for Ashwin-led side in IPL 2019, hitting two fifties in six matches till now. He is handling the middle-order situation in Punjab well, and can be promoted to manage the no.4 position in the national squad.
Sarfaraz Khan gained attention with some great knocks for RCB in earlier editions of IPL. But in IPL 2019, he has been a crucial player for Kings XI Punjab. With a strike rate of 130 in IPL 2019, he has featured in some crucial partnerships in seven matches till now along with a fifty. He is a great batting talent and can also be looked forward for no. 4 position.