“I would like to bat at No. 5, we have a legend playing at No. 3 and I have to be realistic”

Team India all-rounder Deepak Hooda shed light on his preferred batting position in the current stacked set-up. Terming himself a batting all-rounder despite his heroics with the ball in the second T20I, he claimed that he is looking to compete for the No. 5 spot in the team.

The ongoing year has been a memorable one for him after managing to make his international debut across the white-ball formats.

The Rohtak-born player flourished in a more evolved role with the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022. After being roped in for a price of ₹5.75 crore, he scored 451 runs for the franchise in their maiden season as they finished fourth.

He then featured in the top order of the second-string Indian squad and looked at ease. He became the fourth Indian player to record a T20I hundred after scoring a century in the second T20I against Ireland earlier in the year. However, he did not get an extended run at No. 3 with Virat Kohli soon returning to the side.

Speaking to Prime Video Sports ahead of the third T20I against New Zealand at McLean Park, Hooda set realistic standards for his ambitions in the Indian batting order and said:

“I am a batting all-rounder, so scoring runs is very important, but I’m working on my bowling as well and want to chip in whenever the team needs me. I have been playing as an all-rounder since my debut, I have worked hard on my bowling over the last three months, even when I’m not featuring in the team.”

When asked about his preferred batting position, Hooda said:

“I would like to bat at 5, we have a legend playing at 3 and I have to be realistic, I can’t get that spot.”

Out of his 11 appearances to date, Hooda has featured at No. 3 in four matches and holds an average of 49 at a strike rate of 166.10. He was tried out as a finisher in the 2022 Asia Cup and is likely to be explored as an additional all-rounder in the side, with the team looking to expand their bowling options.

“It’s a problem at times to adapt to batting at 5 or 6” – Deepak Hooda

The all-rounder has not been among the runs while batting in the lower-middle order of late. He has recorded successive ducks and last scored over 30 during the tour of the West Indies a few months back.

Expressing his thoughts on the issues that come with batting in different positions, Hooda said:

“It’s a problem at times to adapt to batting at 5 or 6, but I have done that role as I am an utility player and need to play according to the situation of the game.”

Hooda starred with the ball in the previous game against New Zealand, claiming career-best figures of 4-10 in India’s mammoth win at Mount Maunganui. He has been retained by the Lucknow Super Giants ahead of the IPL 2023 auction as well.

Where should Deepak Hooda bat in Team India’s current batting layout? Let us know what you think.

Quick Links

More from Sportskeeda