India are in search of their perfect playing XI as the World Cup 2019 draws near.
The batting order is more or less set, however, Ambati Rayudu's batting position remains a matter of concern.
Usually a regular in the side, he does not have a fixed batting order and generally shuffles between number four and five.
We analyze his stats at various batting positions.
So far in his ODI career, Rayudu has batted in positions two to seven.
While he has batted just once in the second and seventh spot, his preferred batting position has always been the fourth spot, with an average of 45.62 from 25 innings.
Interestingly, his best average is 68.70 while playing at the third position, where he has batted 16 times.
Although he is a middle-order batsman, he can also bat top the order.
While he averages the best as a top-order batsman, batting in the third spot, he has scored the most number of runs batting in middle-order, in the fourth spot.
He has also batted on eight occasions in the fifth spot, having scored 188 runs at an average of 26.85.
Considering Rayudu's ideal batting order in List A, the story sounds similar to that of the ODIs.
Batting in the fourth spot, he averages 42.93 in 56 innings, having scored 1,975 runs.
In the third spot, he has 45 innings with 1,763 runs at an average of 46.39, while in the fifth spot, he averages 36.86 in 28 innings, scoring 848 runs.
Despite the management shuffling him constantly, Rayudu is confident that he can bat at any position, depending on the needs of Team India.
As per the stats above, Rayudu has a consistent average batting in the middle-order, especially in the fourth spot.
However, if required, he can bat top the order, as he averages the best in the third spot.
Considering his recent performance and stats, Rayudu can certainly bat at number four, but is not a perfect fit.
If required, he can bat at number three or five for that matter.
However, with the top order currently stacked, Rayudu has to stick to four.
But, in case he doesn't make it, Rishabh Pant could be the ideal man to replace him.
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