While most of the players in the Indian XI pick themselves and are well-settled in the batting line-up, there is still some debate over who would occupy the no. 4 spot when the team plays in the upcoming World Cup. The possibility of KL Rahul occupying that position is the greatest at the moment but his failure in the warm-up game against New Zealand suggests that he is not as safe as expected. So, who will bat at no. 4 when India play their innings against South Africa on June 5 in their opening encounter?
Well, if one takes the view of senior commentator Sanjay Manjrekar, it shouldn't be Rahul but all-rounder Vijay Shankar. Stating his opinion on the matter, the former India international told Mumbai Mirror why he believes the Tamil Nadu player would be a better pick over the Karnataka batsman.
"I want to see Vijay Shankar (at no. 4 to) begin with and see how he handles it. Because Rahul is more suited to no. 1 and 2. Very rarely he has batted at no. 4, and when he did that, he did not look to me like a no. 4. Rahul is a no. 1 or 2 player who can be a replacement at the top," Manjrekar asserted.
The veteran broadcaster further dwelt on this point and explained why Shankar will be more suited to this position in the World Cup. "Why I said that (is) because no. 4 is a batsman who has to be fluid, who puts the ball into the gaps, handles spin well and is wristy too. He has to have all the gears to handle situations like 20/2 or 220/2. Rahul always opened and Shankar has had a career in the middle-order. So, I will go with Vijay to begin with," he added.
However, the probability of Rahul staying at no. 4 is greater due to his proven ability. Shankar, on the other hand, came into the team only this year and is yet to play a major knock. His selection in the World Cup squad is more due to him being an all-rounder than a potent middle-order batsman. The chief of the selection committee, MSK Prasad said so while announcing the squad. But who knows, at the last moment, Indian team management may trust the batting skills of Vijay over and above those of the mercurial Rahul.