India vs Australia: ‘Sachin Tendulkar never relished batting at No.4’ - VVS Laxman explains why Virat Kohli’s strategy won’t work
Former India cricketer VVS Laxman was critical of skipper Virat Kohli coming to bat at number four in the first ODI of three match series against Australia at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday. India suffered their heaviest defeat at the hands of Australia as they were thrashed by 10 wickets, courtesy of a record partnership between captain Aaron Finch and David Warner. After the end of the match, Laxman told the official broadcasters that Kohli coming at number four won’t work as team’s best batsman should play maximum number of deliveries.
“I don’t see this working,” Laxman told Star Sports after the end of the match. “Sachin Tendulkar was the best player the world had ever seen. But he never relished batting at number four.”
“You want your best batsman to play maximum number of deliveries and set the game up and finish the game for the team, especially against quality attack. One cannot afford to experiment against this Australian bowling line-up.
“I know you want to play KL Rahul because of his form and you also want to play Shikhar Dhawan because of his experience. But in ODIs, you have to play Rahul at number four. Virat Kohli has to bat at number three and set the game and finish the innings,” he added.
Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden, who was sitting beside Laxman during the show, also felt the same and he stated that somebody with 10,000+ runs at number three should continue to bat at the that position.
“You’ve got someone like Virat Kohli that has played 230-odd one-day matches and 180 of those have been at No.3 and he has scored almost 10,000 runs at that particular position”, Hayden said.
During the post-match presentation, skipper Kohli also conceded that the decision to tinker with the batting order in the first ODI ‘didnt go their way’ and they might have to rethink their strategy in the next match.
“We’ve had this discussion many times in the past as well, due to the way KL has been batting. We’ve tried to fit him into the team. Having said that, it hasn’t gone our way when I have batted at no.4, we might have to rethink about this. So we have to see how it goes,” Kohli said.
“At the same time, it’s about giving opportunities to the other guys. People need not panic for just this one game. I think I am allowed to experiment a bit.”