Off The Field

‘Virat Kohli Has Become the Scapegoat’: Sanjay Manjrekar

Written by Shreyas Vyas

Another ODI World Cup, same old debate – who bats at no. 4 for India? In 2019, the Indian team struggled to find a suitable batter for the position and with less than two months before the marquee event gets underway, they are face with the same challenge.

Not that they don’t have any candidates. In Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul they have two quality options but there’s concerns remain over their fitness.

World Cup winner and a former India head coach Ravi Shastri has floated the ide of Virat Kohli giving up the No. 3 spot and batting a rung lower to fill the gap, a suggestion the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Tom Moody agree to.

However, another former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar claims that Kohli is being made a ‘scapegoat’, someone who is a solution to all issues concerning the team.

“The more and more you talk about other options like Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli seems to get relegated. He has sort of become the scapegoat in the sense that you bat him at No.4 and all your problems are solved,” Manjrekar said.

And then he reminded how a similar experiment with Sachin Tendulkar failed during the 2007 ODI World Cup which saw India exiting in the group stage itself.

Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were the two designated openers in ODIs for India and had a formidable record as an opening pair. However, Tendulkar was played in the middle-order and twice batted at no. 4, recording a duck and 7 across the two innings.

“There is also a cultural issue in Indian cricket. In 2007 World Cup when the team management of Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell sent Tendulkar at No.4 instead of opening because they had people like Virender Sehwag and others at the top of the order. But that became a huge controversy. So it is really up to Kohli, an iconic player, on whether he wants to bat at No.4. It seems like a perfectly simple solution, but it concerns Kohli,” Manjrekar said.

About the author

Shreyas Vyas