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Kohli eyes Jadeja as 3rd spinner in WC
New Delhi: Considered a complete package for the limited-overs cricket, Ravindra Jadeja’s career saw a surprise turn when he was left out of the national team after the ODI against West Indies in July 2017.
For close to a year and two months, he was seen as India’s spin weapon in only Test cricket. But the Asia Cup in Dubai last year saw the selectors deciding to give him another chance, and while he is still not the first-choice spinner in this Indian team, he has clearly booked himself a place in the flight for the World Cup.
Speaking to IANS, sources in the team management who are aware of the developments said his quality performance in the just concluded ODI series against Australia has all but sealed his place in the flight to England for the 2019 World Cup.”Jadeja is very much in the scheme of things. Even if he doesn’t automatically find a place in the XI, his role could be important if the wickets in England are flat and offer a bit of turn, as expected for now. Also, you have to realise that he is your only conventional left-arm spinner in the team and in a long format tournament like the World Cup, you will need him.”Also, with Jadeja what you get is an extended lower middle-order. Yes, he might not be scoring runs in every game, but he can definitely wield the willow. Not to forget his brilliance on the field. He is one of those who can easily save 10-15 runs with his pace across the square. In high-pressure games, 10-15 runs can be worth its weight in gold,” the source explained.
On the other hand, the riddle over India’s no.4 batsman needs an immediate fix.Skipper Virat Kohli claimed on Wednesday that the team was pretty sure about the playing XI except for one spot, and while he didn’t divulge the spot he was speaking about, it is no secret that almost all the batsmen tried at the fourth spot have failed.
In fact, coach Ravi Shastri even hinted that Kohli himself could be pushed to the fourth slot, a move that hasn’t seen too many takers.Among those tried, Ambati Rayudu remains the one with the best results. Even though it isn’t anything to write home about, he has batted at no.4 in 14 innings and has hit a century and two fifties. Interestingly, however, the Indian team management in the last two ODIs against Australia dropped Rayudu.
While skipper Kohli came in at four in the fourth ODI in Mohali, Rishabh Pant was promoted to no.4 in the last game at Kotla. Both times, the outcome was far from satisfactory.Even as the last game before the 2019 World Cup is over, the riddle remains unsolved with the team management having a choice between Rayudu, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer or Kohli for the fourth spot.
Former Australia opener Mathew Hayden said that for him, Rayudu was the man for the slot, and he was surprised that the Indians decided to even think of trying someone else at that position after his innings of 90 in New Zealand in tough conditions.Commentator and analyst Harsha Bhogle too refused to believe that Kohli could be a makeshift option for the fourth slot as the team would need its best batsman up and running at the number three spot. He also believes that it is a cause for concern that the position is yet to be sealed with the last game before the World Cup done with at the Kotla on Wednesday.
While former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar refused to speak on the issue, he made his displeasure known at the turn of events through a tweet:
“Whoever gets picked in the end, India’s middle order will be its Achilles heel in the World Cup 2019. Really disappointing with Pant and Shankar today (Wednesday)…what a great chance to show their ability. Shankar may have the big shots but he is no Pant, must learn to keep the strike rate up by hitting more along the ground just like his captain does,” he wrote. (IANS)