The most vexing question facing the Indian cricket team over the last few months has been regarding the no. 4 slot in the batting order and who should occupy it. It has now become clear that the man coming in to bat at that position in that position would be KL Rahul.
In the second and final warm-up game for India, against Bangladesh, Rahul was given one more opportunity to make his case for being in India's starting XI. And he proved the faith of the team management justified by scoring a brilliant hundred against a spirited Bangladesh pace attack that caused problems to other Indian batsmen.
Interestingley, after the fall of Virat Kohli's wicket, India's third, Vijay Shankar was sent in to bat ahead of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. This essentially meant that there was a bat-off between the two batsmen at the crease for earning their place in the Indian XI for the first match that the team plays in the World Cup – against South Africa on June 5.
While Vijay decided to show some caution, Rahul went on a counter-attacking spree and played the sort of eye-catching stroke that have earned him a lot of fans. Soon, the Karnataka batsman was coasting along at an impressive strike-rate and heading towards a century. Then, another positive development took place, at least from his point of view.
Vijay was dismissed, caught behind off Rubel Hussain's bowling. The failure of the Tamil Nadu all-rounder to make use of this opportunity to build an innings meant that all Rahul had to do was bat sensibly to retain his place in the team. He did that sufficiently well and eventually reached a magnificent hundred.
Considering the stout challenge posed by the Bangladesh bowlers and the brilliance of his strokeplay, it would be unthinkable that the Indian team management would drop the right-hander for their first game against South Africa. In this way, one of the few remaining issues regarding the Indian team – the no.4 spot – has been settled. Shankar can still get into the team for his bowling abilities, but with Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja in good form, that won't be easy either.