Aakash Chopra Disagrees With Ravi Shastri About Virat Kohli’s Batting Position-TGN

Former India opener Aakash Chopra feels that Virat Kohli should not be moved from his number 3 spot, where he has gained most of his success in the past decade. This is in counter to the views laid out by former India head coach Ravi Shastri and legendary South African batsman AB de Villiers, both of whom earlier suggested that Virat Kohli could bat at number 4.

With uncertainty around KL Rahul’s injury and availability, Shastri and ABD had commented that India could push Virat Kohli to number 4 because he has good numbers at that position: Kohli batted at number 4 in the first 4-5 years of his career, racking up 1767 runs in 39 innings at an impressive average of 55.

However, Aakash Chopra is unimpressed with that suggestion. Ahead of the Asia Cup 2023 tournament, Chopra pointed out that Virat Kohli has been “exceptional” and at his best at number 3: in 210 ODI innings, the Delhi-born has amassed over 10,000 runs at number 3 at an average of 60 slamming 39 of his 46 ODI tons.

“There are two parameters to judge this. First, Virat Kohli’s success at No. 4 is good, but at No. 3 it’s exceptional. A significant sample size reinforces this and his peak equals India’s best. Hopes rest on his tournament performance – if he does well, India benefits; otherwise, a middle-order gap looms. Kohli’s effectiveness shines at No. 3, tackling new balls and closing games. Retaining this is vital,” Chopra said on Jio Cinema.

“Just because he has the ability to bat at No. 4 shouldn’t mean that he should play there,” Chopra asserted.

Samson should be the backup for KL Rahul: Aakash Chopra

One day out from the start of the Asia Cup, head coach Rahul Dravid confirmed that KL Rahul will miss the first two matches against Pakistan and Nepal. This means that Ishan Kishan, who is in the 17-man squad as back-up, will come into the side. However, Ishan has had his success as an opener. If India do play Ishan as an opener – which could mean Rohit Sharma moves down – it will throw India’s batting-order once again in a puzzle.

Aakash Chopra suggested it should be Sanju Samson, and not Kishan, who should play in the absence of KL Rahul, but Samson is not in the 17-man squad and is the travelling reserve.

“If KL Rahul is unavailable, Ishan Kishan’s placement becomes key. Sanju Samson can also replace him as a travel reserve – I am assuming without Rahul, Sanju Samson can enter the team. Given a No. 5 batter is needed, selection should be based on that specific condition. Samson, a middle-order batsman and keeper, should be the backup,” Chopra said.

It remains to be seen how India’s batting order will shape up in the absence of KL Rahul – whether Kishan will then bat at number 5, or will he open, forcing at least a couple of players to bat out of their regular position.

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