India skipper Virat Kohli on Monday reiterated his backing for newly-anointed No.4 Ambati Rayudu’s possibility of making it to the next year’s 50-over World Cup squad after the Hyderabad right-hander smashed an 81-ball 100 to guide the hosts to a 224-run win over the West Indies in the fourth ODI here.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Kohli said: “Rayudu has taken his chance with both hands. We need to back him till the 2019 WC (World Cup).”
“He reads the game well, so we are happy that someone intelligent is batting at number four,” the 29-year-old expressed.
Meanwhile, Kohli also lauded the effort of rookie left-arm quick Khaleel Ahmed, who picked three Caribbean wickets in exchange for only 13 runs from his five overs.
“Khaleel was good with pitching it in the right areas, making the ball talk, and swinging it both ways,” Kohli pointed out.
Commenting on India’s all-round show, leading the hosts to their biggest ever win over the Windies, the elated skipper said: “Yes, ticked all the boxes. Clinical game in all departments. Got into rhythm.”
“We are known to bounce back and it was another example,” he added.
On the other hand, Man-of-the-Match Rohit Sharma, who played a scintillating 162-run knock beside being involved in a crucial 211-run partnership with Rayudu for the third wicket, termed the association to be a game changer.
“I had mentioned this earlier about having a big partnership and that was a game-changing partnership. All the four games that we have played, we have had some big partnerships which has allowed us to stay in the game,” the opener opined.
“Once you are set, you gotta make it count and that is what me and Rayudu did in the middle. We carried for as long as we did. That eventually turned out to be the match winning partnership,” Rohit added.
With this win, the hosts have now taken a 2-1 lead in the five-match rubber, with the second match at Visakhapatnam being tied.
The men-in-blue will face the tourists for one final time in the series on November 1 in Thiruvananthapuram.