Five contenders for No. 6 in the Indian ODI batting order
With the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in their sights now, teams all over the world have started their preparations to build a powerful and well-equipped squad for English conditions. A new era has surely begun in ODI cricket where players are looking to play their shots virtually every ball, despite losing wickets at the other end.
The number six position is therefore very important as it takes over from the top and the middle and provides the momentum needed for the innings. This is the position that eventually acts as a difference between a good score and an average score. Here we look at five possible options that India can trust for this dynamic and game-changing position :
Suresh Raina still has a lot of cricket left in him. Keeping his vulnerability against the short ball aside, he is a fine player in the limited overs format. He has the rare quality of attacking from the very first ball.
He has been around for a very long time and his experience of playing in English conditions makes him a serious contender for the number six spot.
In addition, he is a proven match-winner who can finish the innings on a high and can also bat in pressure situations.
He is also excellent in the field and hence he becomes a valuable asset. He is one of those batsmen who, on his day, can dominate a bowling attack and hit boundaries at will. To add to all of the above qualities, he is also left handed so he becomes a genuine option at number six position in a batting order dominated by right-handed batsmen.
On many instances, Suryakumar Yadav has provided the finishing touches to the Kolkata Knight Riders' total in the IPL. He plays some cheeky strokes but also has the ability to build an innings.
He is equally destructive against spin and pace and can provide the momentum that is required at the end of the innings. His finishing abilities make him a contender for the number six spot.
He plays for Mumbai in the Ranji trophy and has scored 4055 first-class runs at an average of 45.05. He also has a strike rate of over 130 in the IPL, having played 55 matches in total.
He is known for his cameos down the order for KKR that have completely turned the momentum in KKR's favour. He is a proven finisher in domestic cricket and if given an opportunity, he can come be a good bet lower down the order.
Vijay Shankar is an exciting all-rounder who plays for Tamil Nadu in the Ranji trophy. He has scored 1553 first-class runs at an average of 50.09. He has also grabbed 21 wickets in 29 first class games, thus making him an effective all-rounder.
He plays in the middle order and relishes the role of playing as a finisher. He can be incredible for the balance of the team as he bowls medium pace as well and will boost the options in the seam bowling department on helpful tracks.
He played four matches for SRH in IPL 2017 and scored a match-winning half-century against the Gujrat Lions. During his innings, he played some delightful strokes all over the ground. If that innings is anything to go by, he can be a good contender for the number six spot.
Having experienced the big stage during the IPL, Krunal Pandya can play the role of a finisher quite well. He fits the role perfectly since he provides a left-handed option with the bat in the middle order and can also bowl useful left-arm orthodox.
Pandya was rewarded for his good performances in the domestic circuit when he got selected to play for India A for their tour to South Africa. If the team management decides to go with him, then he could enable the team to play two wrist spinners because of his ability to bowl orthodox spin - the ploy that the Indian team has recently resorted to.
He also has a power game with the bat, particularly against the spinners, and can add some quick, useful runs. He has a staggering strike rate of over 150 in the IPL and is known for his big hitting down the order.
Rishabh Pant is an aggressive, youthful, and passionate left-handed batsmen who can hit sixes at will, and keep wickets as well. If the team management is looking for someone to invest for the future, then he is the right man for the number six position.
His attacking game was there for everybody to see during the IPL where he played some scintillating innings for the Delhi Daredevils.
He grabbed the eyeballs of the selectors and got selected for the Indian team for their tour of the West Indies earlier this year. He can prove to be a wild card going into the World Cup as he will be an unknown commodity and would thus provide a refreshing option at number six.
If he is trusted for the role, he will have the opportunity to learn from M.S. Dhoni, which will make him grow as a cricketer.