India took a 2-0 lead in the five match series against Australia but lost three matches in a trot, thanks to the inexperienced middle order which became the prominent reason of the downfall. Ambati Rayudu was trusted at number four slot after his heroics in Asia cup 2018 last year but the Hyderabadi batsman has failed to deliver on a consistent basis.
Rayudu could just score 33 runs in three matches of the series and his failure has given a new headache to the team management before the start of world cup in England. KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant were the other two batsmen trusted in the middle order but the two failed to deliver which has raised questions on team selection.
Virat Kohli mentioned in the post match presentation of the final ODI that the team needs to think about one batting slot and that is probably number four. Some impressive performances in IPL may open doors for other batsman, however former India captain Sourav Ganguly has stepped up and suggested an unusual choice of batsman at number four slot for Team India.
Ganguly backs Pujara to take the number four slot
The “Prince of Kolkata” feels Cheteshwar Pujara is the right choice at number four who can provide the stability to the team when the top three batsman score heavily for the men in blue.
“See, I am going to say something that might not sound believable to many viewers and a lot of people might laugh at my suggestion. But for me, Cheteshwar Pujara should be India’s No.4 in ODIs. His fielding might be a bit weak but he is a very good batsman. I know people will be shocked by my claim but if you want a quality batsman who is better than the options India has tried off late, I think Pujara is the best choice,” Ganguly was quoted as saying on India TV.
“Sometimes, you need solidity in one-day cricket and Pujara provides you with that in ample measure. Especially, when your top 3 batsmen are so capable and are scoring a mountain of runs,” Ganguly added.
The Saurashtra batsman was unsold for fifth consecutive season after no franchise showed interest in him. He last represented Kings XI Punjab in 2014 and since then has not attained any bids. Ganguly’s claims could be justified if Pujara played IPL this year but shortage of a proving ground may cut down his chances of playing the world cup.
The 31-years-old has played five ODIs for the nation and scored just 51 runs.