Sports reporter GUWAHATI, Oct 20 - Expressing confidence on Ambati Rayudu, India captain Virat Kohli said his team’s middle-order problem will be solved if Rayudu can continue his form from where he left in Dubai.
Indian captain Virat Kohli addressing the media ahead of the first One-day International against West Indies at the ACA Stadium, Barsapara in Guwahati, on Saturday. – UB Photos
Ahead of the 2019 World Cup, the Indian team management is seemingly worried about the inconsistency of the middle order batsmen.
After the practice session today at the ACA Stadium, while addressing a press conference, Kohli said the challenge was only to find someone for the No. 4 slot and with Rayudu showing consistency for that position in recent times, the problem in batting order was more or less settled.
“The No. 4 slot was the only position we were trying to figure out. There were much experiments for that position but nobody could capitalise or cement their places in a way we wanted.”
“With Rayudu coming in and playing well in the Asia Cup, it’s about giving him enough game time till the World Cup so that the particular slot will be sorted for us,” he added.
“I watched Rayudu closely and convinced that he is designed to play that middle order batsman’s role. We feel that our middle-order is more or less balanced now,” Kohli said.
“We have 18 more games before the World Cup and these 18 games would be to find the perfect combination that we want to take into the World Cup,” Kohli said.
Batting at No. 3 in Kohli’s absence, Rayudu scored 175 runs, averaging 43.75 from six innings in the Asia Cup in Dubai.
There has been criticism about veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s batting form. But, when asked if he was open to adjusting No. 5, 6, 7 slots, Kohli said, “Here people want to create controversies out of nothing.”
Further he also spoke about young left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed, who has been named as the 12th man for Sunday’s match, and said it’s good to see someone coming up the ranks after a long time since the retirement of Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra.
“We don’t want to leave any bases uncovered. We thought bringing a left-arm pacer into the mix will give us enough variety. He has the ability to swing both ways and get good bounce as well. He also bowls at a decent pace,” he said.