How did India select its No.4? Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar reveals criteria

Reacting for the first time since his contract as Indian cricket team’s batting coach was not renewed, Sanjay Bangar revealed that the Indian team management had a set certain criteria for selecting India’s No. 4 in ODIs. Bangar, who was replaced by Vikram Rathour as India’s batting coach, was the only casualty after India’s World Cup exit and the instability at the No.4 position was the biggest criticism the former India all-rounder faced. In the ICC World Cup 2019 , KL Rahul started as India’s No. 4 but after the injury to Shikhar Dhawan, he moved to top of the order and Vijay Shankar who was played in that role. Shankar too did not get the desired results and Rishabh Pant was tried out towards the end of the tournament.

“The entire team management and selectors were part of the decision making for the No. 4 spot. The choice relied upon current form, fitness criteria, whether he was a left-hander, whether he could bowl, etc.,” Bangar told reporters.

Bangar, who had been associated with Team India for a period of five years also stated that he was disappointed for sure but it didn’t last for more than a few days.

“Being disappointed is a natural feeling, which lasted for just a few days. But I thank the BCCI and all the coaches, Duncan (Fletcher), Anil (Kumble) and Ravi (Shastri), for giving me an opportunity to serve Indian cricket for five years,” Bangar said.

Bangar also clarified that he won’t be taking any offers outside India immediately. “I have been travelling for five years, I don’t think I may take up roles outside India immediately,” Bangar said.

“I look back on the progress the team made since 2014 and being No. 1 in Tests for three years in a row with happiness. We won 30 out of 52 Tests played, 13 of them overseas. We also won consistently in ODIs in all countries. The only thing that eluded us was the World Cup,” he said.

It was during his time that Virat Kohli consolidated his position as the best batsman in the world across all formats and Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan went from strength to strength as an opening pair. Cheteshwar Pujara also took his game to the next level in Test cricket. However, Bangar’s time also saw the international career of Murali Vijay plateauing and Ajinkya Rahane’s inconsistency.

“Rahane missed out on converting a lot of 50s into 100s in the last 18 months and contributed in all our overseas victories in Johannesburg, Nottingham and Adelaide. I was happy for him that he eventually crossed the three-figure mark in West Indies, where he played a pivotal role in seaming conditions,” said Bangar.

“As far as Vijay goes, when a player is playing only one format, it adds to the challenge of immediately finding rhythm in international cricket if you are opening in tough overseas conditions.”

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