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KL Rahul

Gavaskar wants Rahul at No.4 for World Cup

Sunil Gavaskar, the former India captain, has put his weight behind KL Rahul for India's No.4 spot for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019.

Rahul has been India's reserve opener in the past, behind Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, but is currently in fantastic form in the 2019 Indian Premier League. With 335 in eight innings at an average of 67, the right-hand batsman is the second highest run-scorer in the tournament, just 14 runs behind David Warner.

The No.4 spot has been a highly contentious one, and Rahul is one of the contenders vying for it. Since India don't play anymore ODIs before the World Cup, IPL form could determine who makes the final cut, despite captain Virat Kohli having indicated to the contrary. "Look, who bats at number four will be a matter of debate. And this is where IPL form will be considered because that’s current form," Gavaskar told India Today.

"Ambati Rayudu was spoken about when the season started, but has lost form sharply. Someone like KL Rahul could be chosen for No.4. He has played at No.4 in the past.

Gavaskar praised Rahul for the focus and determination he has shown in the IPL. Rahul had endured a bit of a rough patch before the tournament. He has played only one ODI this year, making 26 from No.3 against Australia in Mohali, the home ground of his IPL team Kings XI Punjab. However, he has put that behind with some strong performances in the tournament, including an unbeaten 100 against Mumbai Indians last week.

"We have seen him bat with a lot of focus and concentration in the IPL," Gavaskar said. "And I don’t think it’s so much a problem for an opener to switch to middle order as opposed to a middle order player to bat in the opening position."

India kick off their World Cup campaign against South Africa at the Rose Bowl on 05 June. They are set to announce their 15-member squad for the marquee event on Monday, 15 April.

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Afghanistan fans celebrate a boundary during the 2019 Cricket World Cup warm up match between England and Afghanistan at The Oval in London on May 27, 2019.

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