‘Rahul, Iyer jhak nahi maar rahe’: Shastri shuts Akram, Hayden theories on Kohli | Cricket

Ravi Shastri, Wasim Akram and Matthew Hayden were in the middle of an intense debate around Virat Kohli moments before the start of the India vs Pakistan blockbuster Asia Cup 2023 contest at the Pallekele International Stadium in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The three legends were discussing what India’s ideal batting line-up should be, including Kohli’s given how the Men in Blue have only a handful of matches left between now and the World Cup. With KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav in the mix, the middle-order is an area India need to sort out, but while Akram and Hayden had their own theories to share, former India coach Shastri’s straightforward verdict ended what looked like being a 20-minute discussion, short.

Ravi Shastri delivers another tracer-bullet.(Getty/PTI)
Ravi Shastri delivers another tracer-bullet.(Getty/PTI)

With Rahul set to miss India’s Asia Cup opener against Pakistan on Saturday, Ishan Kishan is a surprise No. 3, followed by Kohli at No. 4. This was exactly what Hayden, Akram and Shastri touched upon. Hayden insisted that Kohli should bat at No. 4 for this game, a point which Akram countered by citing the former Pakistan World Cup winning captain Imran Khan. Below is how the conversation panned out.

Also Read: India vs Pakistan Asia Cup Live Score

Akram:So you mean to say that Kohli should bat at 3?

Hayden:Ideally, since KL Rahul is missing the first two games.”

Akram:Our captain Imran Khan used to say that your best batsman needs to play the maximum number of deliveries.”

Hayden:Why change such a winning formula? If you’re there and if you want to cement your line-up just before the World Cup, and I wouldn’t be second-guessing Virat Kohli at this stage of his career. Or Ishan Kishan for example: I will make this young player in the dressing room earn his stripes as well. He has got a bit of rivalry back home as well. I think they didn’t pick few of the players I think maybe could have been there. There is no KL Rahul in that change room, but he should feel a little uncomfortable rather than just taking over No. 3.”

Shastri:It’s a no conversation to be honest – this Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul… Once KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer are in the mix, they play. Automatic. So the fact that he is not playing 2 games but is still in the mix shows he is almost 100 percent, Rahul. And for me, India is a stronger side with Rahul in there as a keeper and in the middle order. So when that happens and Shreyas is there, it’s a straight-forward Indian batting line up with Rohit and Shubman Gill as openers, Virat at 3. It’s when you have injuries. If something happens to one of these guys, then you need to be flexible, bring Ishan Kishan up because then if there is a wicketkeeping injury, then you have to think where you bat him. At the moment, it’s a no-brainer.

Shastri further added in the Hindi broadcast that neither Rahul nor Iyer have earned their places in the Indian team, and provided both are fit, it’s no rocket science that they need be part of the Playing XI.

“The fact that KL Rahul is here means that he will play in the future. Not today, but when he’s fit. Do saal se KL Rahul aur Shreyas Iyer thodi jhakk maar rahe the. (Iyer and him weren’t just wasting their time for the last couple of years) They were playing and scoring,” he said.

After winning the toss, India reached 15/0 in 4.2 overs before rain brought play to a halt.

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