The ICC Men’s ODI World Cup got underway with a very much one-sided contest. The finalists, New Zealand who were robbed of their maiden ODI World Cup title based on boundary count, last time around in 2019 against England in England, came back and crushed the defending champions by nine wickets while chasing a total of 283 with 82 balls to spare, leaving them clueless in the opening encounter in the World Cup to kickstart their campaign on a flying note.
With India hosting the ODI World Cup this year, all eyes will be glued on how the Indian team goes about their campaign in the World Cup. The last time India hosted an ODI World Cup in the country was way back in the year 2011, emerging as the champions of the tournament under the leadership of MS Dhoni after 28 years after the last triumph in 1983 which came under Indian legend, Kapil Dev.
Since then, the Indian team has witnessed numerous heartbreaks, especially in the knockout stages of the ICC events. As a result, there has been a title drought for the men in blue for the last ten years, ever since winning the Champions Trophy in England and Wales with MS Dhoni at the helm, back in the year 2013. As it has always been the case in an ICC tournament, the men in blue will yet again step onto the field, carrying along the expectations of the billions of Indian fans in their bid to end the long wait for a title triumph.
Even though the Indian team has picked up a well-balanced squad for the World Cup this year, their pursuit of a stable and dependable number-four position in the lineup continues. In recent years, the team has been unable to seal out the number four slot in the playing 11, ever since the retirement of Suresh Raina. He was the one who made the number four slot as his own scoring a prolific amount of runs for the side with an impressive average of 45.
However, the contenders for taking up the number four slot coming into this World Cup, the likes of KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar Yadav, all of them have delivered impressive performances and made a case for themselves in the amount of opportunities they were given. Various experts and former cricketers have voiced their opinions on who they think, could be a perfect fit to take that slot in the batting order.
Former legend of the Indian women’s cricket team Anjum Chopra picks the 31-year-old batter, KL Rahul as the player who can take up the role for team India. He will also be taking over the gloves behind the stumps as a frontline keeper for India. He averages over 60 (60.12) scoring 481 runs in 11 innings at the number four position. His tally of runs includes a couple of half-centuries and a couple of centuries. His best performance with the bat at this position came against Pakistan when he scored an unbeaten 111, scoring at a strike rate of 104.71 in the recently concluded Asia Cup.
Understandably, as one would expect KL Rahul to deliver the goods for India, coming in at number 4 and with the kind of long rope given to him to cement his place in the middle-order it could auger well for the balance of the side.
However, backing someone like Suryakumar Yadav who can turn the game on its head, purely because of his ability to explore the unorthodox areas on the field and the range of shots he has in his armory which grants him 360-degree access to the scoring areas on the ground is valuable. The same makes him an x-factor player to have in the playing 11, someone who can bail the team out of trouble in a high-pressure situation.
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