As the cricketing world gears up for the much-anticipated ODI World Cup, former India captain Sourav Ganguly and current skipper Rohit Sharma have shared their perspectives on India’s batting lineup and bowling strategy, shedding light on crucial aspects of the team’s preparation.
Number four is just a number: Sourav Ganguly
Addressing concerns that have historically surrounded the No. 4 batting position, Ganguly expressed his belief that the Indian team currently boasts an abundance of talent, dispelling worries about the crucial slot. The former captain, who himself participated in three World Cups, emphasised that the team’s rich pool of options poses the challenge of deciding on the final composition.
“India has enormous talent. We don’t have this or that but we have too much and that is the problem that we cannot decide,” Ganguly asserted during a Mumbai event. He further added that the selection panel, led by Rahul Dravid, along with captain Rohit Sharma, need to determine a stable No. 4 batsman and stand by their choice.
“Number four is just a number and anybody can fit in. I started in the middle-order in one-day cricket and went on to open because I was asked to by Sachin [Tendulkar] as captain. It is the same with Sachin,” Ganguly explained, highlighting the fluidity of batting positions based on team dynamics.
Rohit looking at the bigger picture
In a subsequent event in Delhi, Rohit Sharma echoed Ganguly’s sentiments. The India skipper emphasised that every position in the batting lineup holds equal importance and that injuries have prompted the team to manage player loads effectively. “We need to figure out what combination suits us. Want to give all players a chance,” Rohit commented.
Ganguly also weighed in on the young batting talent in the form of Tilak Varma, expressing his confidence in the player’s potential to shine in ODIs. “He is good but I think when you play big tournaments, you need a bit more runs under the belt,” Ganguly noted, acknowledging the importance of experience on the grand stage. This perspective was upheld by the selectors, who included the promising Hyderabad batter in the Asia Cup squad, recognizing his capability to contribute effectively.
Chahal or Kuldeep? Who is Ganguly’s choice?
Discussing India’s bowling strategy for the World Cup, Ganguly highlighted the significant role that wrist spinners will play in the campaign. “We have a very good bowling attack… [Jasprit] Bumrah, [Mohammed] Siraj, [Mohammed] Shami will play the pacers’ role and then you have the wrist spinners. I will always pick Yuzvendra Chahal, I will always pick wrist spinners,” Ganguly conveyed, emphasising the strategic value of wrist spin in a variety of conditions.
However, an interesting twist emerges as the selectors chose Kuldeep Yadav over Chahal for the Asia Cup, signalling a tactical decision to opt for one wrist spinner. Rohit Sharma acknowledged the difficulty of omitting Chahal but highlighted the need to manage the team composition optimally.