Team India’s No. 4 conundrum in the 50-over format has been a topic of discussion for some time now. There were a lot of changes made to the crucial batting slot over the past couple of years, and yet the middle-order flattered to deceive during the recently held ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.
India started their World Cup campaign with KL Rahul batting at No. 4. But the team management had to move Rahul at the top after Shikhar Dhawan got ruled out of the showpiece event due to a fractured thumb. With Rahul opening with Rohit Sharma, Vijay Shankar batted at No. 4 for India in the next few games before Rishabh Pant eventually taking that crucial slot.
Two months after India’s heartbreaking exit from the World Cup, outgoing batting coach Sanjay Bangar said that the entire team management and selectors were part of the decision making for the No. 4 spot.
"The entire team management and selectors were part of the decision making for the No. 4 spot. The choice relied upon current form, fitness criteria, whether he was a left-hander, whether he could bowl, etc,” Bangar told TOI.
Although the team couldn’t lift the World Cup after losing in the semis to New Zealand, Bangar, who has been replaced by Vikram Rathour as batting coach, is quite pleased with India's progress across formats in his tenure.
“I look back on the progress the team made since 2014 and being No. 1 in Tests for three years in a row with happiness. We won 30 out of 52 Tests played, 13 of them overseas. We also won consistently in ODIs in all countries. The only thing that eluded us was the World Cup,” the 46-year-old said.
"Being disappointed is a natural feeling, which lasted for just a few days. But I thank the BCCI and all the coaches, Duncan (Fletcher), Anil (Kumble) and Ravi (Shastri), for giving me an opportunity to serve Indian cricket for five years. This break gives me time to reflect, refresh and reinvent," he continued.
Bangar also dismissed the reports that he had misbehaved with national selector Devang Gandhi after being sacked as batting coach.
"The contents of that report were fictitious. I had a very cordial discussion relating to my presentation with Devang, three days after the selection process got over,” he insisted.