In the first India vs Australia ODI at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Virat Kohli demoted himself to No.4 to accommodate Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul at the top. This move was widely controversial as many fans and experts criticised Kohli for coming in to bat too late in the innings. Kohli came in to bat in the 28th over of the Indian innings and could not contribute much with the bat.
Former Indian opening batsman Gautam Gambhir wrote about India's first ODI performance in his column for a leading Indian newspaper. In it, Gambhir credited Kohli for thinking about the team first rather than himself. Unlike fans and other experts who have criticized Kohli for batting at No.4, the left-hander expressed how a lot of players do not want to give up their batting position to safeguard their personal interests. But Kohli, on the other hand, dropped himself down the order to accommodate the in-form openers and this act earned him Gambhir's respect.
Gambhir also explained how he dropped himself down the order in the 2011 World Cup that India won. The left-hander added how Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag provided the team with a better opening partnership and the players had to prioritise the nation over their personal interests. Although Gambhir does not agree with Kohli's style of captaincy, he still admitted that Kohli's selflessness was setting the right example for the team.
India will need to win the second ODI at all costs to keep alive their hopes of winning the series. The Rajkot ODI should mostly see India fielding the same playing XI as the Mumbai match but it is possible that Virat Kohli promotes himself up the order and KL Rahul bats at No.4. Australia are set to play the same playing XI as well.