Sydney: Having tried quite a few permutations and combinations in the two losses so far, the Indian think-tank seems to have settled for Virat Kohli at the No.4 position to hit the right balance and stay alive in the ongoing tri-series.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and company suffered an embarrassing nine-wicket loss against England with a spineless batting display which saw the team fall to 153 in 39.3 overs. Facing a must-win situation against Australia in their next ODI on Monday at Hobart, Dhoni is till worried about the batting depth.
"We have to make the middle order and the lower order stronger," said Dhoni post the Brisbane ODI explaining the move to bring Kohli at the No.4 spot.
"Ravindra Jadeja is also not there. If Stuart Binny is playing, it might still be okay (for Virat to bat at three) because we all know he can bat a bit. But with Axar Patel and R Ashwin both in the playing eleven, Suresh Raina and I are playing at numbers five and six. After that, there is not much of batting."
"With Virat batting at four, if wickets fall early, he will go in quite early, say close to the 12th or the 13th over and even from there onwards, he can create a partnership. He can bat from one end and we can all look to give him company from the other side," he added.
Kohli has shown uncharacteristic shot selection in both Melbourne and Brisbane. On both occasions, he had a swift backward movement on the very deliveries he got out, dismissed for 9 and 4 respectively. It remains to be seen if the management will deem this move a failure after two matches and restore him to the spot where he has scored 14 of his 21 ODI hundreds.
The problem however has been compounded by the poor showing of the other batsmen. While Kohli needs to be given time to adjust to this new position, the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane need to make good use of the opportunities presented to them.
The left-hander has been a firm selection in the team for his freestyle approach. But he has only two fifties in overseas ODIs since winning the Man-of-the-Tournament award in the 2013 Champions Trophy.
The bowling is also a big area of concern as India stare at an early exit from the tournament. Their two opponents will meet again in Hobart on Friday and the winner will nearly confirm their spot in the final in Perth on February 1.