Former India all-rounder Madan Lal disagreed with India skipper Rohit Sharma‘s ‘anyone can bat anywhere’ remark about the flexibility of the Indian batting order. Rohit, after the announcement of India’s Asia Cup squad, said the team management wants every batter to be ready to bat anywhere depending on the situation of the match and nobody should think he is secured in one position. “One thing I want in this team is to make sure everyone is okay to bat anywhere. That’s one thing we need to keep in mind. You need flexibility, guys who can step up at any position. No one should say, ‘I’m good at this position or I’m good at that position’. You want guys to be able to bat anywhere, that’s the message conveyed to every individual. Not now, but over the last three-fours years,” Rohit had said.
Although Rohit clarified that this doesn’t mean a No.8 will be sent to open the batting or an opener will be asked to bat at No.7, Madan Lal disagreed with this mindset of being too flexible and even called the theory “weird”.
The 1983 World Cup-winning cricketer said an odd shuffle here and there is fine but largely India should have a set batting line-up if they want to win the Asia Cup and World Cup. “You said, you have asked everyone that you can be asked to bat anywhere. I don’t agree. Specialist batters should bat in their preferred positions. If India want to win the Asia Cup and World Cup, they need good performances from No.4 to No.8. They are the ones who make the game while batting in the middle overs,” Lal told SportsTak.
It won’t help in the confidence of any batter if there is too much change in the batting order, said Lal, who also served as a selector between 2000 and 2001.
“If you keep shuffling your batting order then no one will gain confidence. Yes, you can definitely change one or two guys depending on the match situation but every player should know their role and what they are required to do in order to score runs in that middle phase. This is not T20 where you just go and bat one away and hit your way out. Here, you have to build your innings. If your top-order starts well then your middle-order needs to carry that momentum to put up a good total and if the top-order fails then also if the players in the middle bat well you can get to a good total. So it’s a specialist position. I felt weird that the captain said anybody can bat anywhere,” he added.
‘Asia Cup will be test of Rahul and Iyer’s fitness’: Madan Lal
A fully fit Shreyas Iyer and a provisionally fit KL Rahul have been included in India’s Asia Cup squad after long injury lay-offs. If all goes well then Iyer is expected to bat at No.4 while Rahul will slot in at No.5.
“We’ll get to know about the fitness of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer in this Asia Cup. If they are fit and they play well in the Asia Cup then that will be the biggest outcome for India,” Lal said.