Virat Kohli's form may have taken a hit since dropping to number four in the batting order, but West Indian legend Sir Viv Richards feels the marauding cricketer should continue in the position if that is what the Indian team requires.
The Men in Blue are currently involved in a tri-series with Australia and England, a dress-rehearsal for the upcoming ODI World Cup. Kohli has batted at number four in the first two losses at Melbourne and Brisbane, scoring 9 and 4 runs, leading to a huge debate.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni later justified this ploy saying that it allows the star batsman to control the innings whether batting first or chasing a target. "I believe number four is quite a good position for any good batsman," agreed Richards here.
"On these bouncy Australian wickets, there will always be some batsmen who are going to get outdone by that, especially early in the order. It makes sense to have Virat Kohli bat at number four in such a scenario then because he can dictate terms whatever situation the match is in."
Kohli has quickly climbed the popularity charts as an Indian batsman, not only among the fans but also among his colleagues, present and past.
Among them, Richards has always been a fan of his attacking batting, even likening the young cricketer to his own playing days at one point of time. Kohli has also drawn parallels with Australian great Ricky Ponting. Both of them batted at number three, irrespective of tournament conditions, making this spot their own.
"There are always some people who say that your best player should come in at number three. But it is tough to say these things from the outside and you don't know the team situation and you have to consider the conditions as well that are also an obvious factor here," Richards explained.
"In Australia and New Zealand you can lose wickets quickly and with Virat at three, he might be vulnerable."
"In Australia and New Zealand you can lose wickets quickly and with Virat at three, he might be vulnerable. Coming in at number four, he will have a better perspective of the innings going forward. Whether batting first or chasing, he will know the requirements and bat accordingly," he said.
Richards said Kohli is good enough to bat at any position and win matches for his team. "As the best batsman of the side, you want him to play more overs. But he also has to be comfortable doing the job for you. I am sure this is something the team management ought to have discussed among themselves."
India Heavily Reliant On Kohli
India cricket legend Rahul Dravid Saturday said star batsman Virat Kohli will need to be at his best during the ICC World Cup as the Indian team was heavily reliant on its One-Day International (ODI) vice captain.
"If you look at the Indian batting lineup, they are in a sense heavily reliant on someone like Virat Kohli to get India through those middle overs,"
"If you look at the Indian batting lineup, they are in a sense heavily reliant on someone like Virat Kohli to get India through those middle overs, which allows the likes of Raina and Dhoni to come at the back end and finish off games," Dravid was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
He further added Kohli needs to bat well and set the tempo if India are to have a chance of retaining the World Cup.
"He will need to bat well. He'll need to set the tempo for the side."
Dravid was, however, concerned about the death bowling of the team terming it "inconsistent".
"Mohammad Shami we've seen has a good yorker and when he's on song he does well. Ishant Sharma has blown hot and cold in one-day cricket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is brilliant when the balls swings, but again his death bowling has been good on some days, not been great (on other days) same with Umesh Yadav. So there's no consistency in that," he added.
With inputs from IANS