Virat Kohli looking to solve India's middle order puzzle with Ambati Rayudu

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 20, 2018, 09.28 PM(IST)

File photo of Indian skipper Virat Kohli. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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Ambati Rayudu would be the solution for his number four slot conundrum in the batting lineup ahead of next year's World Cup.

Virat Kohli will look to solve the middle order problem ahead of ICC World Cup 2019 that team India has been facing from quite sometime.

Kohli said if batsman Ambati Rayudu cements his place at the crucial number four then the middle order problem will be solved.

"The only position we were trying to figure out was number four for a long time. We tried many players who unfortunately could not capitalise or cement their places in a way we wanted," Kohli said ahead of the first one-dayer against the West Indies.

"With Rayudu coming in and playing well in the Asia Cup, it's about giving him enough game time till the World Cup so that the particular slot will be sorted for us," he added. 

"The team felt there - and I also watched him - that he (Rayudu) is designed to play that middle order batsman's role. We feel that our middle-order is more or less balanced now," Kohli said.

Rayudu impressed the selectors during Indian Premier League 2018 where he scored a total of 602 runs at an average of 43.00 and a strike-rate of 149.75.

After his spectacular performance during the IPL, he had earned a national call-up for the ODI series for the England tour but was dropped after failing the 'Yo-Yo' test.

But in the absence of captain Kohli in the recently concluded Asia Cup, Rayudu amassed 175 runs, averaging 43.75 from six innings.

"We believe he is the right person to capitalise on that spot. He is experienced and has won many games for his state and also in the IPL. He has a great ODI record already for India. I think the batting order is sorted." 

India will play around 18-odd ODIs before the World Cup, including the five-match series against the West Indies.

"Now these 18 games would be to find the perfect combination that we want to take into the World Cup," Kohli said.

 "Barring injuries or niggles, we want one combination to play through and through. Apart from bowlers resting here and there in the ODIs, we only changed the No. 4 slot because we wanted someone to cement the place," Kohli reasoned. 

Kohli talked about the importance of a depth in the batting order. He said, "Batting order is always ready, especially after four. The guys below four are always flexible in terms of the situation. You want the best thing for the team. Being flexible is very important." 

"There's no rocket science to it. In T20 cricket, you do that all the time. You are flexible in what you want to do as a batting order.