Former captain Dilip Vengsarkar feels trying out K L Rahul at No. 4 is an option India can explore in the World Cup since he has the technique and temperament to succeed in English conditions. One of Indian cricket’s best chairmen of selectors, the ‘Colonel’ is confident that Virat Kohli’s men will have a smooth ride to the semi-finals and can take it from there on.
The number four position has been a bone of contention after Ambati Rayudu failed to make the cut despite being given an extended run in the run-up to the tournament.
“We have a settled opening pair in Shikhar (Dhawan) and Rohit (Sharma). Virat Kohli is phenomenal at No 3. I feel that K L Rahul could be an option at No 4. He has the technique and can complement the top three well. I believe No 4 should be a specialist batsman,” Vengsarkar told PTI during an interaction.
Even though the pitches are expected to be flat during the showpiece, Vengsarkar, who himself played three World Cups (1979, 1983, 1987) with two in England, felt that Rahul’s technique provides him with an advantage.
“Since he is a specialist opener, in case of early wickets, he could provide stability. Also in a long tournament, if required he can open the innings. I feel that he should be a part of playing XI,” Vengsarkar said about Rahul, who finished second in the IPL run-getters list with 593.
The 63-year-old opined that the biggest advantage for India will be their experience of playing a full series in the United Kingdom last year.
“In England, the weather can be fickle and that can have an effect on the performance. Adaptability will always be the key. But to the Indian team’s advantage, they played in England during the same time last year. We have had exposure to those conditions and that’s a good thing. We should try and use it to our advantage,” said the member of the victorious 1983 World Cup team.
The veteran of 116 Tests and 129 ODIs is also not worried about Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav’s dip in form during the Australia series.
“I am sure both Chahal and Kuldeep must have worked on their game as to what went wrong against Australia. Once they get there, they must carefully assess the conditions and accordingly devise the strategy,” he said.
As far as the semi-final line-up is concerned, Vengsarkar named India, hosts England and defending champions Australia as the favourites to reach the last four stage.
“At this moment I can’t predict about the fourth team. Yes, India, England and Australia have the team to go all the way,” he added.
The interaction was arranged by organisers of the EuroT20 Slam scheduled to be held in The Netherlands and Ireland.