Though captain Virat Kohli confirmed that there is only one slot pending to be filled for the World Cup starting in England on May 30, Sourav Ganguly felt a reliable batsman in the mould of Rahul Dravid should get the nod for No 4 spot in ODIs
New Delhi: Former captain Sourav Ganguly has sprung a surprise by choosing Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara to bat at No 4 in India's World Cup campaign after recent failures of Ambati Rayudu and others.
In the last few months, the debate of the No 4 slot has been the focus as India endured a 2-3 ODI series loss at home to Australia on Wednesday. Though Rayudu seemed to have sealed that spot late last year, his failures have made his position shaky.
Though captain Virat Kohli confirmed that there is only one slot pending to be filled for the World Cup starting in England on May 30, Ganguly felt Pujara should get the nod for No 4 spot in ODIs.
"See, I am going to say something that might not sound believable to many viewers and a lot of people might laugh at my suggestion. But for me, Cheteshwar Pujara should be India's No 4 in ODIs. His fielding might be a bit weak but he is a very good batsman. I know people will be shocked by my claim but if you want a quality batsman who is better than the options India has tried off late, I think Pujara is the best choice," Ganguly told India TV.
"I believe Pujara has the capability to perform the role that Rahul Dravid used to do for India in ODIs. But this would have been my personal decision and I know a lot of people won't agree with me on this. Sometimes, you need solidity in one-day cricket and Pujara provides you with that in ample measure. Especially, when your top 3 batsmen are so capable and are scoring a mountain of runs," Ganguly, who is the president of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), added.
The 31-year-old Pujara has not played ODIs since June 2014. He made his debut in August 2013 and his 50-over career hit a road block after just five games. Nearly five years now and he is still not considered a good enough batsman for the limited-overs format.
Last month, Pujara proved he can switch gears and accelerate in the shorter versions of the game as he blasted a 61-ball 100 for Saurashtra against Railways in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament.
Last Updated 4:12 PM IST