Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden said he is not in favour of Virat Kohli dropping himself to No. 4 to accommodate KL Rahul at the top of the batting order in ODI cricket.
Matthew Hayden pointed out that it’s important to get simple things right when playing against a top-class opposition like Australia.
Hayden’s comments came after Virat Kohli’s latest experiment to push himself to No.4 in ODIs failed. Kohli walked in at No. 4 in the 1st ODI vs Australia in Mumbai on Tuesday and just managed 16 runs.
Despite a 100-plus stand for the 2nd wicket between Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, India suffered a collapse and were bowled out for 255.
Australia took only 37.5 overs to gun down the chase as David Warner and Aaron Finch hit hundreds to help the visitors register their 1st-ever 10-wicket win over India in ODI cricket.
“That (No. 3) is- where he has played the majority of his cricket. He has scored close to 10,000 runs at that position. It’s crazy to even think unless it’s part of a plan to try and blood individuals. But when you are up against the best team in the world, this clash of the titans, it’s important to get simple things right. That’s actually a simple decision in my mind what is does is it allows the other decisions to slip,” Matthew Hayden told Star Sports after India’s defeat on Tuesday.
Sachin never ever relished batting at No. 4: Laxman
Backing Hayden’s views on the batting order change, VVS Laxman said he doesn’t see the move of Virat Kohli dropping himself to No. 4 work.
Laxman said Kohli, the best batsman in the side, needs to give himself a better opportunity to face the most number of deliveries and pointed out that Sachin Tendulkar hated batting at No. 4 in ODI cricket.
Virat Kohli has scored close to 10,000 (9509 at 63.09) while batting at No. 3 in ODIs while his average dips to 55.21 at No.4. In the recent past, Kohli hasn’t had a lot of success at No. 4 as he hasn’t scored more than 20 even once in his last 7 outings — 9, 4, 3*, 11, 12, 7, 16.
“Especially in a 3-match series. You have to have your best game plan, best strategy in the 1st match. But I don’t see this working,” VVS Laxman said.
“Virat Kohli is a world-class player. Sachin Tendulkar was the best player world cricket has seen. Sachin never ever relished batting at No. 4. You want your best batsman to play the maximum number of deliveries. You want your best batsman to set the game up and finish the game, especially against a quality attack.
“And if there is any team where India cannot afford to experiment, it is this Australian bowling line-up.
“Yeah, you want to play KL Rahul because of his form. You want to also play Shikhar Dhawan because of his experience in ODI cricket, you have to play to KL at No. 4. Virat kohli has to bat at No. 3, set the game and finish the game.
“Today, he came in in the 28th over. And Virat Kohli cannot afford to do that. You’re playing into their hands.
“Now they cannot change. If they change their strategy, then it is almost like pressing the panic button. So you don’t want to overly change, probably KL Rahul can bat at No. 4, Virat Kohli at No. 3.”
Having given away a 1-0 lead, India will be keen on bouncing back when the two teams meet on Thursday in Rajkot for the 2nd ODI.