Port of Spain (Trinidad & Tobago): Indian Test captain Virat Kohli had indicated that there will be a strategic shift in their batting plans with an aim to give Rohit Sharma a longer run in the middle-order.
Rohit came into the side in place of Cheteshwar Pujara scoring 9 and 41 but Kohli said during post-match presentation that a potential game-changer like the Mumbai batsman needs to get a longer rope. Kohli also indicated that he would be batting at No 3 while Ajinkya Rahane comes in at No 4.
“When I came at No 3 many people asked why I did it, but I am not fixated with my batting spot. If the team needs, I can open the batting too because that’s the rule applicable to everyone in the team,” said Kohli, post the victory.
“It’s not as if I will stay at No 4 and others will shuffle their positions. To field a player like Rohit Sharma we had to make him bat at No 5. To make that happen the other players will go one place up the order. That’s what we did,” the skipper said.
It seemed like a shift in team management’s previous position, showcased last year when Rohit was once again brought into the eleven.
First, in Sydney, in the final Test against Australia, he was asked to come in at No 3. When that tactic didn’t provide satisfactory results, Ajinkya Rahane was moved to that role, while Rohit batted at No 5. Meanwhile, Kohli stayed put at No 4.
This time around, it seems, the team management wasn’t willing to do the same given how the move had failed previously.
As such, Kohli had to move up if Rahane had to do the same. Rohit was not only selected ahead of both Cheteshwar Pujara and a fully fit Murali Vijay, but also the batting order was accommodated such that he could continue batting in the middle order.
In the second innings, Rohit’s knock did help India’s cause, but more was desired when India were reeling at 77/3 on day one.
“I have batted everywhere for the Indian team, as low as Nos 5 and 6 even. Batting at No 3 comes more naturally to me because I have played 170-180 ODIs and I have batted 130 ODIs at No 3. I don’t mind being into the game early. I’ve always been the kind of player who wants to get into the action quickly. So I don’t mind batting at this position too much,” said the captain.
With the series already conquered then, it gives leeway to the Indian team to continue testing this theory for atleast one more step, before finally deciding upon what they want to do when the long home season commences in September against New Zealand.