Hardik Pandya’s promotion to the number 4 spot in the batting order has been received with two schools of thought, one that feels that it is a good experiment and could be pulled off as Pandya has been maturing as a batsman, and the other which feels that it reduces the worth of MS Dhoni as a batsman in the side.
The way MS Dhoni’s career has transpired in the last few years, it feels as if he now needs a few balls to apply himself at the crease and only then can he really take off, whereas Pandya is someone who can tee off from the word go, and hence seems more suitable for that number 6/7 role.
Pandya has been promoted to that number 4 spot in two matches now, meaning that it is much more than just an experiment, and it has been deployed not just to take on the spinners, but in fact give direction to the chase in the middle overs.
Virat Kohli feels that Pandya can occupy that 4th spot permanently.
“For now, it (Pandya’s promotion in the batting order) has been to go after the spinner – probably push the spinner out of the (bowling) attack and get their quicks to come into the game earlier. He’s done that (role) well in the last game. And this game as well, he batted pretty nicely,” Kohli said in the post match conference.
“It might be a regular option in the future, you never know. The guy (Pandya) has got a solid game. He’s got a good defence, he’s got technique and (he) is not just a slogger. If he gains more confidence and understands how to take the game till the end and finish more often, he might be a regular at that spot as well. To mention about flexibility, we are just doing that at the moment where we are not predictable. We are willing to do different things to try and upset the rhythm of the opposition in some way possible.” he added.
Ever since Yuvraj has been ousted from the Indian ODI setup, India has been on the lookout for a proper and permanent number 4. And while KL Rahul was deployed in that role in the Sri Lanka series, he has been left out of the side during the ongoing Australia series.
It is left to be seen as to who cements his place at that crucial number 4 spot, as that is the only major concern in the Indian ODI setup as of now!