Dravid says India ODI vice-captain needs to bat well to set the tempo if Dhoni & Co are to have a chance of defending the World Cup
Sydney: Former India captain Rahul Dravid on Saturday said that Virat Kohli will need to bat really well in the upcoming Cricket World Cup as the current team is too much dependent on him in the middle overs.
"He will need to bat well. He'll need to set the tempo for the side. If you look at the Indian batting line-up, they are in a sense heavily reliant on someone like Virat Kohli to get India through those middle overs which allows the likes of (Suresh) Raina and (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni to come at the back end and finish off games," Dravid told ESPNCricinfo.
Dhoni might have retired from Tests, handing over the captaincy to Kohli, but Dravid feels that the limited-over format suits the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman.
"He just gets the one-day game in terms of having to make instinctive choices. I think one-day cricket suits him because he doesn't have to plan long term," he said.
Dravid said he was not too bothered about India's bowling in the death overs despite so much controversy regarding it in recent times.
Virat Kohli. Pic/Getty Images
"Mohammad Shami we've seen has a good yorker, and when he's on song he does well. Ishant Sharma has blown hot and cold in one-day cricket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is brilliant when the balls swings, but again his death bowling has been good on some days, not been great (on other days); same with Umesh Yadav. So there's no consistency in that," he insisted.
The former skipper also said that the presence of four right-hand and three left-hand batsmen in the ranks would prove to be India's strength while chasing.
"They do it well, and I think if you look at their top seven, the expected top seven to play, they've got four right-hand batsmen and three left-hand batsmen in that, Dhawan, Raina and (Ravindra) Jadeja in the top seven.
So it allows them a lot of time to see through the middle overs because they're always batting left-right, left-right combination which is never easy for sides to play against them," he explained.
Virat Kohli's average in last eight ODIs
Virat Kohli's form may have taken a hit since dropping to No 4 in the batting order, but West Indian legend Sir Vivian Richards feels the marauding cricketer should continue in the position if that is what the Indian team requires. "I believe number four is quite a good position for any good batsman," agreed Richards.
"On these bouncy Australian wickets, there will always be some batsmen who are going to get outdone by that, especially early in the order. It makes sense to have Virat Kohli bat at No 4 in such a scenario."