India approached the ODI series against Australia and New Zealand with the World Cup in mind. Captain Virat Kohli said that he was looking at identifying players for the middle order and backed Ambati Rayudu to take up the mantle at number 4.
However, coach Ravi Shastri has revealed that during the World Cup, even captain Kohli could bat at the number 4 position in order to control the batting order.
"Someone like Virat Kohli can go to number four, and we can put a good number three to bring more balance to the batting line-up. That's flexibility for you, and for big tournaments like the World Cup, you have to be flexible," Shastri told Cricbuzz.
Rayudu can bat at three to make batting stronger
Rayudu, who has almost cemented his side in the playing XI, could be promoted to the number 3 position according to Shastri, but then, the conditions would define the combinations.
"Maybe Rayudu, or someone else, could bat at number three, and Kohli comes in at number four. We wouldn't want to disturb the opening combination. Separating the top-three could make the batting stronger," he added.
Speaking about the never-ending debate on MS Dhoni, the coach said that he remains as sharp as ever and that he remains the finisher in the side.
"He is still a great batsman and is finishing matches for us. You saw in Adelaide, and he has been in terrific form this year. He may not be Dhoni of 2008 or 2011. But experience is not bought or sold in the market," Shastri said.
Hitting out at critics for questioning the place of Dhoni, the coach said that he did not consider anyone as good as Dhoni in order to pay attention to the criticism levied at the former captain.
"Nobody is good enough to criticise MS Dhoni. If you talk about him, do you even know anything about cricket? Dhoni is like Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar. These guys come once in 30-40 years. He is an ornament to the game," Shastri said.
He also believes that the squad is settled as of now and that now they have to identify players for different positions depending on the conditions on offer.
"Nothing is missing really. But it is about just identifying who is the best for a particular position. We have got talent, we have skill, we have fast bowlers and we have belief. We have last two positions to consider and the selectors are on our page," he said.