Kohli said almost the entire line-up has been decided, but for the tricky No. 4 slot and Rayudu – who managed 175 runs in six games in the Asia Cup in the UAE – is the player Kohli wants to back.
“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 ODI.
“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 is sorted for us.
Rayudu had a stellar IPL Chennai Super Kings, scoring 602 runs. He was selected for the England ODI tour but was dropped as he failed the ‘Yo-Yo’ fitness test. He was back in the team for the Asia Cup and played a crucial hand.
“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.
“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.”
KHALEEL JUST PERFECT
India have selected left-arm fast bowler Khaleel Ahmed for the series and captain Kohli said his pace and angle complements right-arm quicks Jasprit Bumrah and Co.
“We don’t want to leave any bases uncovered. We thought bringing a left-arm pacer into the mix will give us enough variety. He has the ability to swing both ways and get good bounce as well. He also bowls at a decent pace,” Kohli said.
“It’s always an added luxury to have him (Ahmed) in the team. Definitely he makes the job easier for Bhuvi and Bumrah.”
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