“He has sort of become the scapegoat” – India Legend Opposes Shastri’s Idea Of Sending Virat Kohli At No. 4

Virat Kohli Of India
Virat Kohli Of India

Former India head coach, Ravi Shastri, recently suggested that Virat Kohli should drop down to No. 4 at the 2023 ICC World Cup to solve his team’s ongoing middle-order problem. Ex-India batter Sanjay Manjrekar has shot the suggestion down, claiming it has become a trend to see Kohli as a solution to all problems.

Virat Kohli has become the “scapegoat”, claims Manjrekar

India have struggled to find a dependable No. 4  since the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, with none of the leading options managing to attain consistency. Shreyas Iyer, who has recently recovered from a lower back problem, is expected to fill in at No. 4, but doubts over his fitness still remain.

With the 2023 ICC World Cup less than two months away, Shastri suggested that Kohli could come in at No. 4, as he has prior experience. It would also allow India to fit Ishan Kishan higher up the order at the ODI World Cup.

Manjrekar, however, has vocally opposed Shastri’s idea, saying Kohli cannot always be seen as the magic bullet. Speaking to Star Sports, he said:

The more and more you talk about other options like Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli seems to get relegated. He has sort of become the scapegoat in the sense that you bat him at No.4 and all your problems are solved.”

Manjrekar urges India to learn from Sachin Tendulkar mistake

Furthermore, Manjrekar claimed that pushing a player down the order can be catastrophic, citing Sachin Tendulkar as an example. He recalled how big of a blunder Rahul Dravid (captain) and Greg Chappell (coach) made by sending Tendulkar at No. 4 to fit the likes of Virender Sehwag at the 2007 ICC World Cup.

Manjrekar added:

There is also a cultural issue in Indian cricket. In 2007 World Cup when the team management of Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell sent Tendulkar at No.4 instead of opening because they had people like Virender Sehwag and others at the top of the order. But that became a huge controversy. So it is really up to Kohli, an iconic player, on whether he wants to bat at No.4. It seems like a perfectly simple solution, but it concerns Kohli.”

Playing at home, India will start the 2023 ICC World Cup as massive favorites. And in order to fulfill the expectations of over a billion cricket lovers in the country, they will need their most consistent batter, Kohli, at his very best.

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