India's middle order conundrum has faced the side over the last 15 months and despite, trying as many as 11 players for the number 4 position, the side is as perplexed as they were before. Now, with the IPL coming up, they have to keep a close watch on the different options and then pick the side accordingly.

The experimentations were done keeping the World Cup in mind, but even after constant chopping and changing, the vagaries in the side remain. This has not gone down too well with former Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir who has criticised coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli for not identifying a particular player for number 4.

Virat Kohli Ravi Shastri
Virat Kohli (L) and Ravi Shastri (R)BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

"If you want a settled batting order in the World Cup, then the No. 4 has to be decided beforehand and he should be backed completely," Gambhir said.

Wants Rayudu to be given a longer rope to perform in the role

Kohli Rahane Ishant Bhuvneshwar Rayudu India
Kohli should have persisted with RayuduPal Pillai/Sportzpics/BCCI

After backing Ambati Rayudu to assume the role of number 4, the management axed him for the last lap of the home series against India and this has not impressed Gambhir, who believes the right-hander should have been given a longer rope before being shunned.

"You have backed others too. You backed MS Dhoni too last year and even Shikhar Dhawan. Ambati Rayudu averages nearly 50 in ODIs, he hasn't done anything wrong. Failures are part and parcel of the game. You didn't drop any other player after two or three failures," he further added.

There have been murmurs about Kohli being tried out at number 4, but Gambhir believes that a player should have been identified by now for this role and blames Kohli and Shastri for too much chopping and changing. He wants the management to back a player to the hilt and not clip them away after a brief passage of failure.

"No. 4 should have been a settled position by now. Virat Kohli played the 2011 World Cup at No. 4. Whoever the team management decides to back should be backed to the hilt and they should stay patient with him. It is a very important slot and you can't have a floater at No 4 because the No. 3 and No. 4 makes the core of your middle order," he added.