India’s exit to New Zealand in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup has propelled Sunil Gavaskar to opine that India’s mistake was not having a proper No.4 for the tournament. Gavaskar also noted that India’s No.4 and No.5 did not get many chances before the crucial game against the Kiwis.
Despite winning seven games out of nine in the competition and topping the group stages, India’s middle-order never had run-out in the competition. Until the semi-final clash against Kane Williamson-led Kiwi side, the middle-order seldom got an opportunity to showcase their prowess. And in the one instance where they were handed the responsibility of dragging the side to victory, against England, the duo of Kedhar Jadhav and MS Dhoni made a mess out of the run-chase.
Opining on the same, Sunil Gavaskar stated that India’s mistake that led to their elimination from the tournament was not having a proper No.4 batsman for the big-stage. Just weeks ahead of the competition, the MSK Prasad-led selection committee picked Vijay Shankar as No.4 ahead of then front-runner Ambati Rayudu.
“What we need to look at is to have somebody at 4, 5 and 6 who are very good batsmen, who would otherwise bat at the top but because 1, 2 and 3 are occupied they are batting in the middle-order. We made a mistake by not having a proper No. 4 at the 2019 World Cup. If we had had a proper No. 4 for the World Cup then it might have been a completely different story,” Gavaskar told India Today.
Gavaskar also partially blamed the top-order’s dominance which led to the lower-order being found out in the back end of the tournament, particularly in the clash against New Zealand. Unfortunately, as Gavaskar mentioned, Indian lower order’s bad patch came in the most crucial stage of the tournament, in the semifinal clash versus the Kiwis which they eventually lost by 18 runs.
“India’s top-3 batting lineup is such a fabulous batting lineup that often it has happened that numbers 4 and 5 at the initial stages of the World Cups haven’t got the opportunity to play long innings, to get their eye in,” he added.
“Suddenly when your top-3 are dismissed cheaply, and that can happen in the odd match, unfortunately for India, it has happened in a knockout game and that is where number 4, 5 and 6 haven’t been able to cope with the loss of your earlier prolific batsmen,” he concluded.