File photo of Ravi Shastri© BCCI/Sportzpics
India’s No. 4 conundrum in ODIs has become a headache that is showing no signs of a resolution anytime soon. With the Asia Cup and the ODI World Cup on the horizon, the team management and selectors are running out of time to come up with a solution. While the likes of Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul have started to play, their return from the respective long-term injuries isn’t instilling the sort of promise in experts’ minds. Former India head coach Ravi Shastri, in fact, said that he doesn’t even see the returning Rahul making it to India’s XI in the Asia Cup.
Rahul, who last featured for India in March, wasn’t in the best of form when he got injured and is in the race against time to be fit for the Asia Cup. To expect him to play full throttle and also keep, hence, is too much to expect according to Shastri.
“See when you’re talking of a player (KL Rahul) who’s not played and is recovering from injury. To think of him in the XI of the Asia Cup, you’re asking a little too much of the player himself. And then you’re talking keeping. When a guy comes from an injury, the range of movement and things of that sort, so that’s a no no,” the former India head coach said on Star Sports, as per India Today.
The middle-order problem had hurt the Indian team in the 2019 World Cup too. Four years from that event, the problem still hasn’t been resolved. Among Iyer and Rahul, the former has a brighter chance of slotting into the playing XI at the No. 4 spot but India do need a wicket-keeper due to the absence of Rishabh Pant.
Ishan Kishan has been playing well in ODIs but his inclusion has come mostly as an opener in the team. With Shubman Gill preferring to either open or bat at No. 3, the Indian team might need to shuffle the batting order to a large extent in order to find balance.
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